Forget weather stations; this gadget lets you monitor the entire planet

Luke Dormehl

Kickstarter illustrates one of the great things about crowdsourcing: The ability to garner interest in a new product from thousands of people around the world. Another part of crowdsourcing, however, is the possibility of harnessing that same crowd for large-scale collaborative projects. A new project from Kickstarter veterans Raspberry Shake fulfills both of these criteria. Called the Raspberry Boom, it’s a citizen science project which provides you with a finely tuned atmospheric monitor for your home.

Using it, you can detect infrasonic (read: extremely low frequency) sound waves, which are emitted by a huge number of natural and manmade activities. These infrasonic sounds can be caused by anything from incoming harsh weather or volcanoes erupting to planes flying overhead and potential nuclear testing.

“The Raspberry Boom brings this technology into your home at an affordable price,” Michael Hotchkiss, marketing manager on the project, told Digital Trends. “The complex circuit board and advanced sensor collect and process atmospheric infrasound readings, while the unit itself is powered by the most popular single board computer, the Raspberry Pi. As soon as you plug in your device, it connects with our Station View network and you can start monitoring your local region for activity.”

raspberry boom kickstarter project eag7454

The idea is, essentially, to create a device similar to the many home weather stations around the world, but one which can extend far beyond simply climate tracking. Each device incorporates a powerful 24-bit digitizer, which samples infrasound at 100 samples per second with data transmission rates of four packets per second. It connects automatically to the team’s Earth-monitoring network, thereby allowing you to see atmospheric readings from other users all over the world. Whether it’s a volcanic eruption in Hawaii or tornado season in Florida, as long as there is a Raspberry Boom in the area, you will get to find out about it.

“Our previous campaign for our home Earth monitor, the Raspberry Shake, appealed to hobbyists, makers, creators, citizen scientists and Raspberry Pi enthusiasts,” Hotchkiss continued. “Being the most advanced and first ever atmospheric monitor of its kind, designed for home use, the Raspberry Boom is likely to attract attention from a wider audience — including early adopters who already have some kind of home monitor, to weather enthusiasts, such as fans of the popular Netatmo devices.”

While all our usual warnings about crowdfunding campaigns apply, if you want to get involved with Raspberry Boom you can pledge money over on their Kickstarter page. A complete kit will set $459, although cheaper options are available minus the Raspberry Pi board.