US: The Safecast project, co-founded by BoingBoing contributor Sean Bonner in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, completed a successful Kickstarter funding round to deliver open source geiger counters to volunteers. Safecast aims to map the world’s radiation and air pollution.
The lack of reliable tools to deliver this data, was one of the reasons that Safecast started working with designer and Chumby co-founder, Andrew “Bunnie” Huang, to create an open source geiger counter design that could be used to get easy-to-use and accurate geiger counters out there to people that need them. While the limited edition run on Kickstarter will help produce about 170 geiger counters, said Bonner, the manufacturer of the gadgets, Metcom, will start selling the official commercial version of the geiger counter by the end of the year.
Getting these devices out there — especially internationally — is a key to getting access to the world’s local radiation data. The devices will run about USD 800, and the limited edition version cost pledgers at least USD 400.
The religious flag behind this project is the idea that this data should be accurate and open. Safecast uses open source and APIs and anyone can use the data to conduct research. For example a health researcher could use their radiation data to compare radiation levels against health information.
Local level radiation data is largely not available currently, or it’s owned by companies and not released. Much of the publicly available radiation data available today is based on averages, explained Bonner.
The geiger counters can deliver radiation data down to the granular — or human — level. More recently Safecast also decided to start looking at using their mapping platform for air pollution, too, and are contemplating ways to add on sensors for air pollution to their open source gadgets.