Geiger Backpack with Intel Edison

We are a group of makers who like to spend nights and weekends tinkering with tecnology here at Verona FabLab (Verona is a town in the North of Italy) and with this instructable we want to describe the project we’ve realized for Intel Maker contest.

Our project is a portable device powered by an Intel Edison and equipped with a GPS receiver and a Geiger Tube, a sensor able to detect radioactivity.

Our device continuosly measures ambient radioactivity and GPS position and saves them on a cloud database using your smartphone as a WiFi hotspot.

You can turn on your device, put it inside you backpack (here’s the origin of the name), pick up you bike and ride all around you town. When you’re back at home you can view a heatmap of radioactivity level you encountered during your ride.

Our project doesn’t want to mimic governmental environment protection activities, we just want to involve citizenship and make people aware that taking care of our planet is everyone’s duty.

Step 1: How it works

The Geiger tube is a glass tube fullfilled with a special gas and kept at high voltage (500V).

When a radioactive isotope decays, it generates a radiation which can be of 3 types: alpha, beta, gamma.

When the Geiger tube is hit by a radiation, it generates an electrical signal which is detected by the electronics circuits of the hosting Cooking Hacks Arduino shield.

We have the J305ß as the tube for the radiation sensor board as it is fairly sensible to Beta and Gamma radiation.

This shield, is stacked over a GROVE base shield which is stacked over an Intel Edison dev board.

A GROVE GPS is connected to the GROVE base shield.

The Intel Edison detects the interrupts generated by the Geiger shield and computes an average value called CPM (Counts Per Minute) and every 10 seconds it queries the GPS and sends a payload to the cloud server with the current CPM and GPS coords.

Step 2: The Hardware

No soldering is required for this project!

Just stack all the shields, from bottom to top: Intel Edison dev board, GROVE Base shield, Geiger shield.

The GPS must be connected to UART of the GROVE Base shield using the GROVE cable.

Step 3: The software

The software running on the Intel Edison is composed by:

  • an application in nodejs installed into Intel Edison, It manages the measurement, capture position by GPS, save the data in the local database, set response on the LCD display and send them to the cloud.

On the cloud part we have:

  • an Ubuntu server running Apache webserver and nodejs
  • a node-red flow that receives the payloads from the Geiger Backpack and saves them on a database
  • a MySQL database
  • an HTML page with a Leaflet map with heatmap plugin for data visualization
  • a php for database data extraction

Download the source code from github:

Read more: Geiger Backpack with Intel Edison

About The Author

Ibrar Ayyub

I am an experienced technical writer with a Master's degree in computer science from BZU Multan University. I have written for various industries, mainly home automation, and engineering. I have a clear and simple writing style and am skilled in using infographics and diagrams. I am a great researcher and is able to present information in a well-organized and logical manner.

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