Funded! This project was successfully funded on October 5, 2012.

Update #2

Testing coffee spectra at Toscanini's in Cambridge


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!


    1. Jeff-photo.small

      Creator Jeffrey Yoo Warren on September 4, 2012

      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_small

      Creator Ray Weil on August 29, 2012

      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.

    3. Missing_small

      Creator Tom Nathe on August 29, 2012

      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.

pledged of $10,000 goal
seconds to go
  • Pledge $10 or more
    You selected

    280 backers

    A fold-up spectrometer attachment for your smartphone. Ships flat -- you cut it out and assemble it.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $35 or more
    You selected

    612 backers

    A proven and tested "desktop" USB spectrometry kit which you assemble inside of a VHS box. 400-900 nanometer range and 3-10 nm resolution. (please add $10 for international shipping)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $65 or more
    You selected

    235 backers

    An experimental "backpack" which clips to your Android phone's camera and turns it into a spectrometer. If more than 250 backers want this, we pledge to develop a native iPhone app as well. (please add $10 for international shipping)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $100 or more
    You selected

    282 backers

    All three of the above, as they become available (please add $60 for international shipping)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $200 or more
    You selected

    5 backers

    A "Classroom pack" of 6 desktop spectrometry kits for teachers and those of you who just can't get enough spectra! Please add $40 for international shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $300 or more
    You selected

    38 backers

    A fully-assembled and calibrated "countertop" model with Pyrex sample dishes and a full-spectrum lamp. Would look great in a coffeeshop, a wine bar, an exhibit or classroom. (please add $40 for international shipping)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $400 or more
    You selected

    50 backers

    All four -- countertop, desktop kit, mobile, and papercraft spectrometers -- please add $100 for international shipping, as we'll be shipping these separately.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $1,000 or more
    You selected

    3 backers Limited (2 left of 5)

    This completely egregious "steampunk" spectrometer is made from polished aluminum, brass, and finely finished, laser engraved wood. It's functionally identical to the "countertop" model, but has enough polish to make Isambard Kingdom Brunel proud. Don't back this unless you are a) feeling sooo rad or b) trying to support the Public Lab nonprofit.

    Estimated delivery:
Funding period

- (39 days)