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This DIY kit helps analyze materials and contaminants. We need your help to build a library of open-source spectral data.
This DIY kit helps analyze materials and contaminants. We need your help to build a library of open-source spectral data.
1,633 backers pledged $110,538 to help bring this project to life.

Testing coffee spectra at Toscanini's in Cambridge

Posted by Jeffrey Yoo Warren (Creator)

Short update today; there was some speculation from ZPM Espresso (another KS project!) about using these tools to analyze coffee -- and one reason we made a nice rugged "countertop model" was just for that kind of use! So I set out today to Toscanini's, a famous local ice cream and coffee shop in Central Square, Cambridge Massachusetts, to try it out. Gus and Lucy at Tosci's were super helpful, and you can read about it here:

Remember, if you have suggestions for things to test, or do an experiment yourself, post, comment, or tweet it at @PublicLab!


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    1. Jeffrey Yoo Warren 2-time creator on

      Hi, Ray - thanks for your support! So Eymund Diegel, from the NYC Public Lab chapter, posted a reading about spectral analysis of nitrogen levels based on visible-light spectroscopy:

      It doesn't mention specific wavelengths, but i bet there is a lot of data on this in the literature. I'm eager to explore it. I don't know about amino acid profiles or sulfur content but the "desktop" spec kit goes up to 800-1000 nanometers, so if you know how to put that to use, we'd love to hear more.

    2. Missing avatar

      Ray Weil on

      So I think I was lucky enough to be the person whose pledge put this project over the top. I am interested in spectral analysis in my work of advising poor subsistence farmers in Africa on how to improve their soils and crops. ..and hence their family food security. It would be wonderful if one of these specs could determine the amino acid profile in a bean or wheat grain (especially cycteine and methionine). Also of great interest would be the total sulfur content of crop leaves (say 0.15 vs. 0.20% of dry weight in a corn leaf). Finally, the water content of soil. Any chance they have the wavelengths (NIR) and resolution for these types of analyses? It would let us identify which fields or crops could benefit from sulfur containing amendments - a nutrient largely ignored to date and widely deficient in Africa.

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      Tom Nathe on

      Wow, that's great! The one main reason that I'm backing this is that I'd like to try this system out and work on amateur astrospectrology. It'd be very cool if I can couple a fiber optic cable from an eyepiece to the spectrometer and make readings.