Funded! This project was successfully funded on June 1, 2012.

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Kit for making a programmable colorimeter for analytical chemistry and biochemistry labs & activities. Arduino compatible.

The goal of this kickstarter is to raise $8,000 to fund the manufacture of an affordable scientific colorimeter kit for educators, students and DIY scientists. The colorimeter kit is an open source hardware project. Colorimeter design files and software are all available at https://bitbucket.org/iorodeo/colorimeter/.

What is a colorimeter ?

Colorimeters are analytical devices commonly used in science labs to measure the concentration of a solution from its light absorbing properties. Colorimeters are extremely useful and flexible lab instruments for a wide range of science education labs. Some examples of how the colorimeter can be used for are listed below.

  • Investigate Beers Law - Use food dye or other colored solution to investigate the relationship between concentration and absorbance;
  • Water quality - measure several water parameters such as turbidity, pH, water hardness, phosphate content and more;
  • Population growth - measure the absorbance of a microbial culture over time to follow population growth;
  • Enzyme kinetics - measure the activity of an enzyme over time and different environmental parameters (temp, pH, inhibitors);
  • Nitrogen cycle - quantify the amount of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate in a newly established aquarium.

and much more .....

Educational Kit

We purposefully designed the educational colorimeter as a kit rather than a pre-assembled instrument. The electronics are already assembled so no soldering is required. Assembly takes approximately 20-40 mins and so the build can be incorporated into a classroom activity. Step-by-step assembly instructions are posted on Instructables and in the colorimeter User Manual. Each colorimeter kit ships in a reusable tub for safe storage of kit parts in the classroom.


How it works

An RGB LED illuminates the sample in a cuvette with one of three different wavelengths of light: 625 nm (red), 528 nm (true green) and 470 nm (blue). A slit in the colorimeter allows light to pass through the sample to the light sensor. Absorbance of the sample is determined by comparing the intensity of incident light to the intensity of light after it has passed through the sample using the following equation:

Open source software - data collection and analysis

We have developed a suite of open source software tools to use with the colorimeter. These can be used to 1) collect transmission and absorbance data, 2) generate a plot of absorbance versus concentration and 3) calculate the concentration of a solution. The colorimeter software in this project includes several calibrated solutions with plans to extend the list of solutions if this Kickstarter is successful. The current list of calibrated solutions can be found here. Software for the basic program is available now. The additional features (plotting and absorbance measurements) will be available by July 2012. 


Sample Data

To get you started working with the colorimeter we are also developing several introductory colorimetry labs. These can be found in the colorimeter User Manual and will be updated in the upcoming weeks and months. Some sample data from Lab 2 (Beers Law) is shown below. Materials for completing this lab (food dyes and 500 mL volumetric flasks) are included in the educational level rewards.

More information

For more information on the educational colorimeter kit, visit the project website at www.iorodeo.com/colorimeter.

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    COLORIMETER PCBs. At this level backers will receive the colorimeter LED PCB, colorimeter sensor PCB and colorimeter shield. Includes free domestic shipping. International orders please add $10 for shipping.

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    COLORIMETER KIT. At this level backers will receive a complete colorimeter kit. Each colorimeter kit ships in a 6" x 4" x 3" clear container and contains the following items: Colorimeter LED board * Colorimeter sensor board * Colorimeter shield for the Arduino * Laser cut acrylic parts for the enclosure * Hardware for the enclosure (screws, nuts, washers and standoffs) * 4 x pre-crimped colored wires and housing * Assembled ribbon cable for connecting the colorimeter to your Arduino * Set of 6 sample cuvettes * Mini Philips screwdriver. Includes free domestic shipping. International orders please add $28 for shipping.

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    COLORIMETER KIT PLUS PRE-PROGRAMMED ARDUINO. At this level backers will receive everything at the $80 reward level PLUS a pre-programmed Arduino Uno Rev3. Includes free domestic shipping. International orders please add $28 for shipping.

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    NEW USER REQUESTED REWARD - BASIC EDUCATIONAL KIT. At this reward level backers will receive a colorimeter kit plus a set of 3 colored food dyes and volumetric flasks for completing Lab 1 and 2 in the user manual. Includes free domestic shipping. International orders please add $34 for shipping.

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    READY TO USE COLORIMETER. At this level backers will receive an assembled colorimeter with a pre-programmed Arduino Uno Rev3. Includes free domestic shipping. International orders please add $28 for shipping.

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    EDUCATIONAL KIT. At this reward level backers will receive a colorimeter kit plus 1) Printed and spiral-bound copy of the online user manual 2) Set of 3 colored food dyes and volumetric flasks for completing Lab 1 and 2 in the user manual; 3) Set of 100 lab cuvettes and 4) Exclusive to Kickstarter - We will laser engrave a word, school or class name onto the cover of the colorimeter. Includes free domestic shipping. International orders please add $34 for shipping.

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    EDUCATIONAL KIT PLUS PRE-PROGRAMMED ARDUINO. At this level backers will receive everything in the previous reward PLUS a pre-programmed Arduino Uno Rev3. Includes free domestic shipping. International orders please add $34 for shipping.

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