Posts with «geiger counter» label

Monitor radioactivity levels with this low-cost Geiger counter

While you may not have a graduate degree in nuclear physics, you likely have some inkling that large amounts of radiation should be avoided. In order to monitor local levels, AdNovea has come up with a DIY Geiger-Müller counter, which displays radiation stats on a 20×4 LCD display.

The device uses an SBM-20 or STS-5 tube to measure radioactivity, with an Arduino Nano to process this input. It can be employed as a standalone unit, or transmit readings wirelessly via an Ethernet interface. Readings can then be tracked over time with a web app, or even shared with the wider world over the Internet.

This DIY low-cost ($50$/€43) C-GM Counter project provides hardware and firmware for building a Geiger-Müller counter device aka G.M. Counter for continuous measurement of the radioactivity level. It is based on an Arduino Nano, a 20 chars x 4 lines LCD display, a W5100 Ethernet card, a 400V power supply and very few components around. The number of components has been kept to minimum for easy assembling and reducing the cost.

The C-GM Counter is able to run as a standalone radioactivity counter or for ensuring long term radioactivity monitoring, the C-GM counter can be used in association with A-GM Manager (in the sequel) that is an open-source web application running on a SOHO server (e.g. QNAP sells Small Office Home Office servers). A-GM Manager is also able to publish the C-GM Counter measures on the worldwide shared map managed by GMC MAP. Finally, there is also a Node-RED version for integration of the C-GM Counter with Node-RED such as the QNAP IoT framework.

Cosmic Bitcasting is a wearable radiation detector

Cosmic Bitcasting is a digital art and science project emerging from the idea of connecting the human body with the cosmos by creating a wearable device with embedded light, sound and vibration that will provide sensory information on the invisible cosmic radiation that surrounds us. This open-source project actually works by detecting secondary muons generated by cosmic rays hitting the Earth’s atmosphere that pass through the body.

Artist Afroditi Psarra and experimental physicist Cécile Lapoire worked together to develop a prototype of the wearable cosmic ray detector during a one-month residency at Etopia in Zaragoza, and is currently on display at the Etopia-Center for Art and Technology in Zaragoza as part of the exhibition REVERBERADAS.

Cosmic Bitcasting is comprised of an Arduino Lilypad, High Flex 3981 7×1 fach Kupfer blank conductive thread from Karl Grimm, Pure Copper Polyester Taffeta Fabric by Less EMF, white SMD LEDs, a coin cell vibration motor, and an IRL3103 MOSFET with a 100 Ohm resistor to drive the motor.

Intrigued? Take a look at the video below and read the diary of the residency to learn more!


Making the threat of radiation visible with lightmapping

Even three decades after the Chernobyl disaster and five years after the incident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, each of the surrounding communities are still impacted by dangerous radiation levels. However, since the source of the problem is invisible, the relative risks remain difficult to communicate. As a result, the motivation and urgency to help those affected continue to diminish.

In order to visualize the threat, photographer Greg McNevin has mapped real-time measurements using long-exposure photographs of areas in Fukushima and Russia’s Bryansk region. To do this, McNevin and his team combined a custom Geiger counter with an LED stick and an Arduino-based controller. The detection device picks up radiation levels as it is moved around and outputs this data as an analog signal, which is then converted into white, orange or red lights — based on the severity of the reading.

Walking through a photo with shutter open anywhere from 20 seconds to five minutes allows us to create dynamic walls of undulating light, highlighting contamination in the environments it exists.

White shows levels under 0.23uSv per hour (1mSv per year), which is the Japanese government’s guideline for decontamination (which assumes people spend 8 hours a day outside and 16 hours inside). Russia’s official “norm” level is roughly the same, 0.20uSv/h.

Orange shows contamination levels elevated above this, up to 1.0uSv per hour (roughly 5mSv per year) – a range where protective measures to minimise radiation exposure should be considered. Protective measures can include resettlement, decontamination, special health services, food controls, etc. Russian communities are obligated to be resettled above this level.

Red shows radioactivity greater than 1.0uSv per hour (upwards of 5mSv per year) – a level where protective measures to minimise radiation exposure are necessary.

Using this tool in areas affected by Chernobyl and Fukushima, we found that places decontaminated by the authorities consistently exhibit radiation levels elevated above official guidelines. We also found that using the same scale, places in Russia’s Bryansk region demonstrated comparable levels of contamination now, 30 years later, as places in Fukushima do today.

As the photographer explains, this project is not a critique of the government’s decontamination efforts, but rather a demonstration of the long-term effects radioactivity has on the environments and those living within them. Be sure to check out all of McNevin’s photos, as well as learn more about the project here.

(Photos: Greg McNevin/Greenpeace)

Hackaday Prize Entry: Nuclear Powered Random Number Generator

Random number generators come in all shapes and sizes. Some are software based while others, known as true random number generators, are hardware based. These can be created from thermal noise, the photoelectric effect and other methods. But none of these were good enough for [M.daSilva]. He would base his off of the radioactive decay of Uranium 238, and construct a working nuclear powered random number generator.

Because radioactive decay is unpredictable by nature, it makes for an excellent source for truly random data. The process is fairly simple. A piece of old fiestaware plate is used for the radioactive source. Put it in a lead enclosure along with a Geiger tube. Then wire in some pulse shaping circuitry and a microcontroller to count the alpha particles. And that’s about it. [M.daSilva] still has to do some statistical analysis to ensure the numbers are truly random, along with making a nice case for his project. But all in all, it seems to be working quite well.

Be sure to check out the video for quick rundown of [M.daSilva’s] project. If randomness is your thing, make sure you check out entropy harvested from uninitialized RAM, and the story behind the NIST randomness beacon.

The 2015 Hackaday Prize is sponsored by:

Filed under: Arduino Hacks