Networked Radiation Detector: Feel Cosmic Rays on your Fingertips

*Update (12/23)*: Just entered the “protected” competition- protect yourself from radiation and vote for me πŸ™‚ Thanks

Note: This is my very first Instructable! I will be very responsive to feedback on how to improve the project description below, so please let me know.

Feel Cosmic Rays on your Fingertips

In this tutorial, you will learn how to build a device that lets you feel radiation in your vicinity on your fingertips, and, if tuned well, feel cosmic rays passing through your hands. You will build it starting only with Geiger Muller tubes, fairly standard electronics components, and RFDuinos. The basic steps are to create a high voltage supply in which to suspend your tubes, process pulses from your tubes and feed them into an RFduino, and then use RFduino’s GZL library to radio events to a glove with vibrating motors attached to the fingertips. (RFDuino also makes it very easy to read data into an iPhone app, if you feel like going further). If you’d like to read through a journal I kept while working on the project, it is available here

I’m writing this tutorial for people like me: you are still somewhat of a beginner in electronics, but do have some exposure. You have studied physics or at least have a keen interest in physics detector design. You believe that allowing people to sense physics phenomena that we normally cannot is a way to make others care about the study of physics. I’ll try my best to walk through steps slowly.

  • Approximate Cost: $100-$150 (There are probably some shortcuts to make it cheaper)
  • Prerequisite: Basic knowledge of electronics components (resistors, capacitors, inductors, ‘555 timers, microcontrollers)
  • Prerequisite: Circuit Layout in Eagle (or follow a separate tutorial to learn)
  • Prerequisite: Interest in building your own physics detector without using a prefabbed circuit
  • Prerequisite: Access to a fab lab. In particular, access to Modela for circuit milling, and ideally a laser cutter and Shop Bot for case building

You could also build the circuitry on a breadboard and bypass the need for access to a fab lab/circuit layout in Eagle.


For more detail: Networked Radiation Detector: Feel Cosmic Rays on your Fingertips

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