The Smart Citizen Kit: Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring
Ordering Multiple Kits
For ordering multiple Kits you can modify your pledge to the amount corresponding to the # of Kits you need. For customers outside the U.S., you only need to add the international shipping fee once. For example:
If you would like to buy 2 [USER-I] ASSEMBLED KIT ($155 value). Then you need to increase your pledge to (2x$155) = $310.
If you would like to buy 2 [USER-I] ASSEMBLED KIT ($155 value). Then you need to increase your pledge to (2x$155) + 1x$35 = $345.
- 05/25/13 Added new rewards!
- 05/24/13 Added a $60K stretch goal for developing an Android App.
- 06/16/13 Added the following info: ordering multiple kits, post-Kickstarter purchases, new iPhone App video, stretch goal #1 reached.
We are not asking you to eliminate your carbon footprint, nor attempting to turn you into a climate change crusader, nor claiming that the end of the world was triggered by you not recycling that can of soda last week… Experts of all kinds and points of view are working hard to tackle these problems, and talking heads add their two cents daily. Our goal is not to add to this chatter, but to help in the best way we know:
Empowering communities to collect data of what's actually happening in their environment.
Simply put, we invite you to participate in the deployment of a crowdsourced, interactive, worldwide environmental database—the largest to date! Want to get involved? Read on!
What is the Smart Citizen Kit?
The Smart Citizen Kit is an Open-Source platform that comprises 3 technological layers: a hardware device, a website and online API, and a mobile app. Below is an overview of them, and if you're interested, all the gory details can be found on the Smart Citizen website.
- Arduino-compatible hardware
The first layer is a piece of hardware comprised by two printed-circuit boards: an interchangeable daughterboard or shield, and an arduino-compatible data-processing board. We have nicknamed the shield developed for this campaign 'The Ambient Board.' As the name suggests, it carries sensors that measure air composition (CO and NO2), temperature, light intensity, sound levels, and humidity. Once it’s set up, the ambient board is able to stream data measured by the sensors over Wi-Fi using the FCC-certified, wireless module on the data-processing board. The device’s low power consumption allows for placing it on balconies and windowsills. Power to the device can be provided by a solar panel and/or battery. All the design files (schematics and PCB layout) for this Open-Source, Arduino-compatible device are available on our Github repository.
Currently, we are hard at work designing additional shields for use in soil and water testing for urban agriculture (in collaboration with Refarm The City), measuring electromagnetic fields, tracking energy consumption and air composition inside the home, and even monitoring biometrics.
- The website and online API
The online component of the Smart Citizen Kit is used for logging and visualizing the data measured by the hardware. Once the device is set up, you can navigate to the website and visualize your measurements, share your data with others, and view what other users in your community or around the world are reporting. You can also query our Application Programming Interface (API) to instantly access the datastream from your device(s). Although we don't mind writing detailed explanations of all the features, we think it best to show them to you!
Check out the live (Beta) site at http://test.smartcitizen.me.
- The mobile app (under active development)
The third layer of the project is a mobile app, which allows you to communicate with the physical hardware over an easy-to-use, native application on your smartphone.
- Additional resources
Hands-on workshop. We provide the exclusive opportunity to our Kickstarter backers to come to sunny Pasadena, California (U.S. backers), or beautiful Barcelona, Catalonia (European backers) for a day of tinkering with your Smart Citizen Kit. We will show you the ropes! Everything from making your own hardware, to exploring all the different features of the website, online API, and mobile app. The workshop includes a local tour of the gorgeous Caltech (Pasadena) or IAAC (Barcelona) campuses, as well as lunch and refreshments. For out-of-town backers, some of the rewards include airfare, lodging, and airport transportation.
Online forum. Of course, this project would not be complete without an online (multilingual) forum, which is moderated by our team members. This is the easiest avenue for asking questions, and reading other users' experiences.
Apparel. Help us spread the word about the Smart Citizen project by sporting our gnarly t-shirts (men and women sizes available) and comfy hoodies specially designed for this campaign!
EDIT: After her successful Kickstarter campaign, our friend and fashion designer Alicia Hardesty (from Original Tomboy and project runway) has designed 3 clothing and accessory articles specifically for the Smart Citizen project!
- An infinity scarf made out of an Original Tomboy fabric---a navy double-sided knit (feels like a light sweater)---and using a bleaching technique. ($22)
- A dip-dyed Aztec Pocket Tee that gears you up for the summer in style! ($40)
- A bleached Denim Tote Bag that sports the Smart Citizen logo on the side ($32).
Hardware instructable. For those of you with a knack for soldering surface mount components, our instructable includes detailed, step-by-step instructions for assembling your Smart Citizen Kit hardware. It also outlines the steps for connecting the hardware to the internet using the website and online API, as well as provides instructions for using the mobile app.
Dedicated documentation website. All the information about the Smart Citizen Kit is being condensed in a single, dedicated website for easy, centralized access. Video tutorials, demonstrations, and answers to FAQs will be published regularly on the site.
Version controlled repositories. All three technological layers of the Smart Citizen Kit are Open-Source, and thus all the files we use for development and manufacturing of the Kit are readily available on our Github repository.
Present & Future of the Smart Citizen project (what your $, £, ¥, €, … are actually funding!)
After successfully putting the Smart Citizen Kit in the hand of over 150 users around Barcelona, Spain, we are ready for the next, and most crucial step.
We want to build a distributed data-collection network through the worldwide deployment of the Smart Citizen Kit, and...
- To purchase components for the hardware in large quantities
As most of you know, the only way we can offer the Smart Citizen Kit hardware at a reasonable price is by purchasing its components in large quantities. Specifically, in order to purchase turn-key PCBs and afford to sell assembled Kits for $150, we need to purchase at least 300 units from our PCB assembly house. That is why we've set our financial goal at $50,000 (amount includes processing fees).
- To provide quality assurance and customer support
We are hoping with this campaign to extend our user-base by at least 300 individuals. Such scaling effort requires us to hire additional labor for testing and packaging the hardware kits. In addition, given the magnitude of the project and our commitment to customer satisfaction, it also require us to hire virtual assistants for supporting users on our online platform, answering questions through our mailing list, and monitoring our multilingual forum.
- To finalize our 3D-printable enclosure design
We are redesigning the enclosure of the Smart Citizen, to increase its resilience and make it more aesthetically pleasing. We'll be starting the testing and pre-production of these enclosures over the next couple of weeks (we'll keep you informed through our campaign updates!). The CAD files for the enclosure are Open-Source, and will be available on our Github repository.
- To finalize our mobile app
The initial functionality of the Smart Citizen mobile app is implemented for iOS. The video below demonstrates basic communication between an iPhone and a Smart Citizen Kit. With your financial support we'll be able to refine the app, and add additional features.
New Video of the latest Smart Citizen App functionality!
- To accelerate the development of additional shields
In addition to 'The Ambient Board' developed for this campaign, we are already working on additional shields for use in urban agriculture, measuring electromagnetic fields, tracking energy consumption and air composition inside the home, and even monitoring biometrics.
Any additional funds raised through this Kickstarter campaign will allow us to expand our development team, and tackle the next set of goals for the Smart Citizen project at a much quicker pace.
EDIT: $60,000: If we reach this financial goal — thanks to our wonderful Kickstarter backers — we'll be able to work on the Android App sooner, and have a version out by the time the hardware is shipped! [REACHED!]
EDIT: $70,000: If we reach this financial goal — thanks to our wonderful Kickstarter backers — we'll be able to subcontract additional developers to finish the design of the urban agriculture and electromagnetic shields quicker, and thus be able to include them as part of this campaign's rewards.
$85,000: If we reach this financial goal — thanks to our wonderful Kickstarter backers — we'll be able to subcontract even more additional developers to finish the design of the energy consumption tracking and indoor-air monitoring shields quicker, and thus be able to include them as part of this campaign's rewards.
Who we are
We are an international team of scientists, architects, graphic designers, and engineers who came together under one roof:
Promoting citizen participation in distributed data collection and environmental monitoring.
- Tomas Diez, Fab Lab Barcelona Director and IAAC faculty. Project co-founder, SCK systems integrator, strategic planner
- Alex Posada, MID founder, Hangar Interaction Lab engineer, and IAAC faculty. Project co-founder, hardware designer and developer
- Guillem Camprodon, IAAC and Fab Lab Barcelona researcher. SCK systems integrator, developer
- M.A. de Heras, Hangar Interaction Lab engineer. SCK hardware designer and developer
- Alex Dubor, Master of Advanced Architecture at IAAC . SCK first platform designer, programmer and developer
- Leonardo Arrata, Vioklab - UX/UI designer & developer. SCK web, API, and mobile app designer and developer
- Xavier Vinaixa, Freelance iOS developer. SCK web, API, and mobile app designer and developer
- Gabriel Bello-Diaz, Master of Advanced Architecture at IAAC. SCK first platform designer
- Francisco Zabala, Chief Technology Officer at Acrobotic Industries. SCK developer, strategic planner
- Alejandro Abreu, SCK documentation and project revision supervisor
Risks and challenges
We feel that our strategy of splitting the development and deployment of the Smart Citizen Kit into 2 phases was the best way to mitigate the major risks associated with any hardware project. We have completed a small pre-production run, which allowed us to receive early feedback over 150 users. In addition, as several team members have been successful in previous crowdfunding efforts — both inside and outside Kickstarter — we are very aware of additional challenges that may be encountered.
Risk #1: lead time and delays of hardware components.
We've done our homework. We maintain a global inventory (updated daily) of the parts needed for the production of the Smart Citizen Kit hardware. Our main concern is to be able to fulfill the orders we take during the campaign, for this we have limited the number of Hardware Rewards we offer, we have also set realistic timelines for delivering the kits based on an already completed pre-production run, and, we have prepared for the scenario where we run out of the first offering of our Hardware Rewards (in such case, we'll offer additional kits with a delivery date that accounts for the components' lead time).
Risk #2: problems with the assembly of the hardware.
This was one of the main reasons that motivated our pre-production run and Beta release, it allowed us to test the capabilities of our hardware manufacturer. With a couple of lessons learned, we now feel more than confident on meeting the expectations of a larger audience. Since the manufacturer has already completed a couple of runs for us, there will be no surprises in this step of the process.
Risk #3: problems with the website and online API.
This was an area where we definitely learned valuable lessons during the Beta release. One of the main challenges we faced was scalability of the online platform. As a result, we have taken the necessary measures to guarantee the best User Experience when using this tool. We have upgraded the virtual servers to attain better performance, and we are also upgrading our Mapbox accounts to avoid any limitation on the number of prints per day imposed on standard ones.
Risk #4: not reaching our financial goal.
This is a challenge inherent to the crowdfunding process. We are determined to get these Kits into people's hands around the world, even if we fail at reaching our financial goal. In this case, we'll adjust our hardware manufacturing process (assembling the boards manually) in order to lower our production costs.
Of course, it'd be ludicrous to think that we can reduce to 4 the risks associated with production and deployment of any hardware project. We are committed to working as hard as necessary to ensure nothing but the best experience to our wonderful backers :)Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)