Dear CamBike enthusiasts,

Another week has gone by and we were busy soldering/building new sensors. Our seafaring sensor has come back safely from its trip with SailBritain (we have some wonderful pictures below). We will also propose a very interesting CamBike-related group design project to Part IB Computer Science students as part of their practical work in Lent term (more of this in the next weeks). And last but not least we are going to work together with the Centre for Global Equality and Nairobi Makespace to develop a version of the sensor that can be used even further away from Cambridge, in Kenya.

A sensor on a cruise

A CamBikeSensor was part of the crew on SailBritain's final trip of this year from London to Ipswich. Thanks a lot for your support and taking our sensor along - the photos are wonderful!

Goodbye, London! Hello, Ipswich!

But the trip resulted in more than pictures, the sensor collected a lot of data. Of course, the situation on sea is very different compared to a street in Cambridge, and we were eagerly awaiting the results. On the 4-day long trip, the weather changed quite a bit. On day 1 (gentle dry winds that were getting stronger over the course of the day), the air quality was good, as it was not very humid. On day 2, when the wind was much weaker, we can probably see the effects of being surrounded by lots of water - a higher amount of water in the air causes particles to clump together which in turn artificially rises the measured amount of PM. This is clearly visible on day 3, when it was foggy. As soon as the fog dissipated, the values are back in the green region. They stay green on day 4, which had gentle winds again.
What does that teach us? For once, weather really makes a difference. We can clearly see how fog influences the readings. This means that there are some challenges left if particulate matter sensors are to be employed in an environment where larger humidity changes are rapid and common - as they are on sea. But we are not discouraged and will hopefully continue those kinds of experiments!

The PM2.5 readings from the trip, the red squares show when the data was taken.

Investing in the future

We gave the new SensorCDT cohort a hands-on introduction to CamBike this Monday. They connected the PM sensor to Arduinos and wrote a short program to take readings and display them. That’s a good start into their guided sensor project. We are already looking forward to their Teamchallenge!

Let the programming begin!


We are alomst ready to give out the next batch! We will send out emails to interested volunteers soon with more information.

What’s next?

We are currently working on improving our database and data file upload system. We will therefore have to ask all our volunteers who have already collected data to check if their login still works (don’t worry, we will send around a separate email in the next days with more details). This will keep the “tech team” busy until next week. The rest of the team will build sensors and write grant applications to be able to start the work with Nairobi Makespace.

Until next time,

The CamBike Sensor Team

P.S. If you know anyone who might also like to stay tuned, let them know to just drop us an email!