Funded! This project was successfully funded on June 21, 2010.

Update #8

Hack your holidays with Public Lab!


This winter, choose gifts that delight your loved ones AND help support your favorite non-profit organization, Public Lab.

Check out these holiday specials at

Intro Kits for just $5!

Our foldable kits are on sale now at half price -- only $5 plus shipping for the Infragram plant analysis filter pack or the award-winning papercraft Foldable Mini-Spectrometer! These ship in a flat 6x9" envelope. Use discount code: INFRAREDNOSEDREINDEER

Gift Cards

Not sure which kit would make the best gift? We now offer Public Lab Store Gift Cards, so your giftee can make their own (DIY) choices!

Order/Preorder our newest items

We are excited to announce two new kits in our store -- the Smartphone Spectrometer is now shipping, and the Infragram Webcams for plant analysis will ship in January.

Perfectly presented presents

We make perfect packages easy. If you're in the US and you'd like our illustrated boxes to arrive without postage markings, please select "Priority" under "Shipping Method". This option is available for all of our kits except balloon kits and kite kits.

Just imagine:

  • Walking through a winter-wonderland with winged widgets
  • Capturing aerial photos of your family's snow angels and snow forts
  • Documenting spectra of chestnuts roasting over an open fire
  • Searching for Rudolf the Infrared-Nosed Reindeer
  • Hosting a spirited spectral showdown to explore your favorite liquors
  • Basking in the spectral richness of holiday candles, colored LED lights, and incandescent bulbs 

Public Lab open hardware kits are lovingly created by a community of contributors. These kits embody the spirit of giving, making them the perfect way to open source your holiday. Do you know someone special who'd love a balloon mapping kit or a spectrometer for their beloved smartphone? Public Lab kits make wonderful gifts for your friends and family--explore DIY science together around the kitchen table and outside!

Give back this season:

Your purchases at the Public Lab Store help us fulfill our non-profit mission: to make civic science something everyone can do, especially those affected by environmental injustice. Your support matters!

Wonderfully wintry photos of ribbony kits by Public Lab contributor and organizer Chris Fastie.

Update #7

2013 Public Lab Barnraising in Cocodrie, Louisiana


Hello everyone - it's been a long time, but I wanted to reach out to invite you all -- who helped us get our start before Public Lab even existed -- to a fun event in Louisiana this October 4-6. 

As many of you know, in the past three years, our community has grown into a broader DIY environmental movement and network known as Public Lab. In one month, members of the global Public Lab community will be meeting up at our third annual conference, called the "Public Lab Barnraising" -- at a research station in the wetlands of Cocodrie, Louisiana. We'd love it if you'd join us! 

Dormitories are available, and the 3-day event will include unconference-style sessions, workshops, brainstorming sessions, outdoor activities like boating, kiting, ballooning, and other fun forms of DIY environmental research (not to mention late-night fishing on the dock). The Barnraising is free to attend, and lodging is an affordable $20/night. This year's theme is education

When: October 4-6, 2013 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) 

Register today: 

Below: a group kite-mapping session on the nearby canal, and a DIY spectrometry session at the 2012 Barnraising.

Update #6

Hello again! We've created a plant health camera called the Infragram


It's been a while, but we wanted to get in touch again because one of the projects started during this campaign has grown up into it's own project -- an infrared "photosynthesis camera" we're calling the Infragram. 

During the oil spill, we began to experiment (in the same spirit of Do-It-Yourself creativity and environmental concern) with a pair of synchronized infrared and visible cameras in a technique for assessing plant health which we borrowed from NASA. You can read more about our work here:

Since then, as you probably know, we've formed the open community research network called Public Lab. Our goal with this camera has been to help quantify damage to ecosystems, using a low-cost version of the same techniques NASA uses from satellites -- very much in the spirit of Public Lab! The two-camera technique was expensive (although not as much as the thousands of dollars normally spent on such images!) and a bit unwieldy -- a prototype! 

Well, we've worked hard since then, and with lots of help from backers (who are now active Public Lab contributors), we've come up with a single-camera version which we are offering in our new Kickstarter. You can get one for as little as $35 -- and the images are stunning; see below.

Update #5

Prints going out ASAP

1 comment

Hi, all - thanks for your patience - we're going to start sending prints out as promised as soon as you submit the correct information. Please check your inboxes - we've asked for mailing addresses, names, and your choice of photos.

By the way, the finalized maps (so far) can be found on this page:

The link sent out with our questions was a larger set including lots of pictures of Louisiana Bucket Brigade folks on beaches, boats, etc. but if you simply want a map, check out the above link.

Thanks again and don't hesitate to get in touch with questions!

Update #4

Last 28 hours of fundraising: new Perdido Point map, disturbing flyover imagery


Hi, all -

This is our last day of Kickstarter fund-raising. Shannon from LABB put together a budget and we think that with ~$11,000 we could continue mapping all the way through January, even paying local fishermen to take us out on boats. So if you could forward this along to anyone you know who'd be able to chip in, we want to try to make up some of that $4k gap. Initially we were just trying to map through the summer, but this is going to be a long-term problem and we're looking a bit further to the future.


Kris Ansin of LABB and Tulane went out on June 9 in a seaplane provided by the Blue Seals, and brought back some really disturbing images, many of which will make great maps. See below, especially the one with the giant columns of smoke (that one's not for a map, but it's still breathtaking).

Stewart Long of also finished up a new map of Perdido Point:

The really stunning part of this map is that the images were submitted by someone we weren't working with - Don and Justin Blancher, who heard a talk about our efforts and simply went out and did it. We were surprised and a little confused when they emailed us asking where to upload the images, and when we actually saw them we were blown away. So many thanks to them for taking such initiative!


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    We'll send you TWO 5x7 prints of any photo from our public domain dataset -- such as these: and write your name on our camera capsule!

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    We'll send you an 16x20 poster of any photo from our public domain dataset and we'll write your name on one of our kites! (kites don't pop, so this'll last longer)

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    We'll send you an 20x30 poster of any photo from our public domain dataset and we'll write your name on one of our helium tanks in big fancy letters!

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    We'll write about you in a blog post, put your name on an entire mappng kit (bag, reel, balloon, kite, and helium tank), and send you a 20x30 poster of any image from our public domain dataset.

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    We'll assemble a custom Grassroots Mapping Kit (sans helium - just go to Party City!) of the finest materials, pack it up and send it to you. If you're within a couple hours driving distance of one of us, we'll even come out and show you how to use it!

Funding period

- (24 days)