Introduction: Cheap "Wireless" Data Logging Alternative
Of course there are commercial products available for this type of application like the the WiFi-502 from Measurement Computing Corporation as seen in the first image. This product is priced at $185 per unit which greatly exceeds the stated criteria of being cheap (eg no more than $20/unit). While it meets the criteria of monitoring Temp & Humidity and wireless transmission of data to a local PC, that data would not be automatically transmitted to the project management team.
Because the "Citizen Scientist" participation in this project involves collecting samples from household surfaces and participants are provided with test sample collecting materials, I propose the following:
- Provide a low-cost digital thermometer/hygrometer with the sample collecting materials.
- Add the step of taking temp & humidity readings as part of the data collecting process.
- Use a free web-based "office" software suite such as Google Drive to create a form that participants use to input their climate data which will be logged in spreadsheet format for immediate project management monitoring and future analysis.
Step 1: Low Cost Thermometer/Hygrometer
Step 2: Google Drive (Formerly Docs)
For an overview click here Google Drive Overview.
Basically this is a web-based suite of "office" type apps analogous to Word, Excel, etc with 5gb of free file storage space/account.
1. To create an account right click here Google Drive and select open in a new window.
2. Once logged in click Create and select Form, the form editor will open in a new window. Follow the simple onscreen prompts to create the form and save it when complete.
3. To access the logged form data, or to edit, select the form from the file list on your My Drive page.
4. To get the URL of the form to provide to your project participants; with the spreadsheet view of the form opened click Form on the menu bar and select Edit form. The form URL will be listed at the bottom of the page.
Here is a simple example form Wildlife of Our Home Climate Datalog.
Here is the example form data Spreadsheet.