project specification

Fieldkit

FieldKit is an open-source software and hardware platform that allows individuals and organizations to collect and share field-based research data, and to tell stories through interactive visualizations. Designed to be easy to deploy and customizable, FieldKit can be adapted to meet the needs of diverse research teams, from biology and ecology to marine and environmental sciences, from postdoc researchers to elementary school students. FieldKit offers a simple platform for enabling live data expeditions, and for the creation and deployment of environmental sensor networks or in situ monitoring.

Specifications

Electronics and firmwareC/C++, with Arduino IDE compatibility
Open Source
MicrocontrollerATSAMD51
Manufacturing method caseInjection molding
3D Printing

Overview

Designed to be easy to deploy and customizable, FieldKit can be adapted to meet the needs of diverse research teams, from biology and ecology to marine and environmental sciences, from postdoc researchers to elementary school students. FieldKit offers a simple platform for enabling live data expeditions, and for the creation and deployment of environmental sensor networks or in situ monitoring.

FieldKit

At its technological core, FieldKit is three things: 

  • an ecosystem of modular hardware
  • the FieldKit app
  • he FieldKit.org website 

They all play an important part in gathering that scientifically-relevant environmental data that FieldKit is seeking to address. 

Electronics and firmware

The electronics and it’s firmware (C/C++, with Arduino IDE compatibility) is fully open source and designed in house. It is has been architected with modularity as a major design consideration, so that the capabilities can improve as additional sensors, communications radios, or power needs become available. The datalogger currently runs on an ATSAMD51 microcontroller, but we are working on a Linux SoC version as well. A series of sensor modules have been engineered, hackable user-defined modules (to allow for other non-FieldKit sensors to be added), and radios (cellular, Iridium satellite, and LoRaWAN) that are all automatically recognized and supported in the firmware. The electronics also offers various different configurations depending on how many sensors are needed and the enclosure being used. 


Enclosure

The FieldKit enclosure is a custom design. The aim was to create something that had the feel and durability of protective cases (like Pelican) while providing flexibility in passthroughs for cables and other sensor hardware. This flexibility caused the developers to create an adapter plate that can be used in various ways: it can be drilled (or laser cut) for specific cable gland or bulkhead connectors or be configured to provide different mechanical attachment points. 

The enclosure includes a lock area, mounting flanges, and a friction-fit 18650 battery holding compartment. Currently the developers are going through the injection molding process, but this case is 3D printable provided the user has a large enough print bed. While this case has been optimized to work with FieldKit’s existing electronics design, it can be used more broadly on other projects. 

FieldKit Application

The FieldKit app is built mainly to provide a user-friendly interface to the hardware. The app provides the ability to manage the fleet of sensors, configure each FieldKit station, calibrate sensors, visualize data, upgrade firmware, and download the data from onboard memory. One of the key uses for the app is to help guide a user through deployment of their device, where the team has built the UI to integrate best practices in scientific sensor deployment and metadata collection. The aim behind this is to provide some provenance and rigor to the data collection, that could allow the possibility for that users FieldKit data to contribute to broader scientific understanding. 

Through FieldKit.org, users will be able to do general administration (for project, organization, or deployments), advanced sensor management (including configuration and diagnostics), and map-and chart-based data visualization. The data on FieldKit needs to be interactive and shareable, so annotation capabilities, export functionality (in CSV, JSON, XML, Jupyter Notebooks, and more), and the ability to share links to data points and ranges through email or social media are being created. As mentioned in FieldKit’s values, data privacy, ethics, ownership, and longevity are really important to the developers and subsequently built in are some strong policies and features towards supporting those ideals.

References

Elaborate description about the project and its motivations. includes team member profiles and more images

Shah Selbe

Software for the open source sensor and data acquisition/visualization platform.

https://github.com/

Short description of the project and an email sign up system to get updates.

https://survey.fieldkit.org

Wevolver 2022