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Hello, World! (USGS, SunSpots, sensor.network and more fun)

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Hello, all!

I’m not entirely sure how to start out, so I figure I’ll describe the work I’m doing.

I’m currently (until the end of Summer 2009), an intern at Sun Labs. I decided to host the blog here instead of on Sun’s website because I’ll hopefully continue using the blog after I’m gone. I’m working on the SunSPOT project; more specifically, sensor.network.com. All of this has been described in great detail by another member of the spot team, Vipul Gupta.

Anyway, here’s where I come in.

In the lower left corner of that map is Sun’s Menlo Park office, where I’m located. Look a bit toward the center right of the image and you’ll see a white spot, just below the Bayshore Expressway; we’ll call that area SF2.

SF2 is an old salt evaporation pond, and before that it was a marsh. The USGS is trying to restore this area back to the wetlands they once were. More on that here.

As part of the restoration, the USGS is trying to monitor the area. That’s where we come in. They’ve got a few sensors that they’re going to be putting in the area, which will hopefully be reporting data back to sensor.network with the help of a SunSPOT, so that a researcher doesn’t need to physically access the sensor. Additionally, the USGS is interested in knowing what birds and how many are in the area; a process usually done by going to the site and counting birds for an afternoon a few times a year.

We’ve been playing with cameras, CHDK, eye-fi cards, and Ubiquiti wifi access points in the lab for a while now, and we think there’s a better way to monitor the area.

Our plan at this point is to place several Canon cameras running the CHDK custom firmware in boxes on the Dumbarton Bridge, pointed towards SF2. Each camera will have an eye-fi module that uploads the pictures it takes via wifi to an Ubiquiti access point located at the Sun campus a kilometer or so away. The cameras will take several hundred pictures a day, and the researchers will be able to get a more accurate ‘picture’ of the bird situation at SF2, without needing to spend a day on-site.

Stay tuned: I’ll be posting more information along with pictures and maybe some code soon.

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Written by gregklein

July 15, 2009 at 11:04 am