Jeffrey Werner (State University of New York – Cortland, USA)
In a project-based instrumentation course, students built a field instrument using the open-source Arduino microcontroller and other low-cost hardware. Students met with the director of a local non-profit, the Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom (CLFC), to learn about instrumentation needs on-board the CLFC’s ship, which provides formal and informal environmental education experiences on Cayuga Lake. Students chose to build a submersible lake profiler for the CLFC. It can be lowered from deck by a 40 m cable, sending live data to an integrated LCD screen, including temperature, depth (via pressure), light attenuation (600 nm OD), and intensity of incident sunlight (500 nm). The prototype cost a total of $120, and was tested on-board the ship in late Fall, 2011. I will discuss the design of the course, the implementation of low-cost, easy-to-program hardware, and the students’ development of the circuits, programming, and chemistry skills needed to complete the project.