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A robotically controlled growth facility, the Bellwether Foundation Phenotyping Facility, inspired scientists at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center to create other imaging technologies for their individual labs. Sixty percent of the scientists now participate in the Center’s Maker Group, where they acquire skills to build instruments designed for their own research.
Dustin Mayfield-Jones, senior laboratory technician in Tom Brutnell's Lab, Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels at the Danforth Center discusses his maker project with HEC-TV’s Innovations channel. Mayfield-Jones took his skills to new heights in adventures with high altitude balloons through HAB.education, a voluntary group of professional computer scientists, educators and students interested in learning with high altitude balloons (HABs). These balloons carry Raspberry Pi computer-guided instruments as high as 100,000 feet into ‘near space’, often travelling as far as 60 miles. He has completed over ten launches, and is working with area schools to use high altitude ballooning as part of STEM education.
“HAB.education would not exist without the expertise and enthusiasm from members of Arch Reactor, St. Louis’ largest hackerspace,” said Mayfield-Jones. “I encourage anyone interested in learning more about a community hackerspace or makerspace to check out Arch Reactor.”
To learn more about what a launch is like and the data it can collect, check out “Interactive Launch” Dustin and his team made with ArcGIS, R, a community-driven collection of free, open source projects making it easier and faster for R users to work with ArcGIS data and ArcGIS users to leverage the analysis capabilities of R.
For more information on how to get involved, check out the website Hab.education and follow them on Twitter @BalloonEDU.