First project with Adafruit.IO

For a while now, I’ve been interested in exploring Internet-of-Things (IoT) sensors with the hopes of developing some type of platform that can be used for remote chemical education. I’ve also been making a lot of purchases at Adafruit because the pandemic, the state of our country, and the pile of grading on my desk have left me feeling depressed and in need of some comfort making.

This project is far from complete, but I know that I’ll get swamped with end-of-semester craziness and need to have some documentation of what I’ve done to date. Ideally, I’d put it into my maker logbook, but the piles on my desk (both ungraded papers AND unfinished electronics projects) have made it all but impossible to find that notebook. Thankfully, the keyboard is clear of debris.

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Dual peristaltic pump prototype

Another project I’ve been working on this summer while stuck not in my lab was an inexpensive dual peristaltic pump design. It consists of two 12 Volt peristaltic pumps from Adafruit along with a Metro (Adafruit’s Arduino clone) as the brain.

Dual peristaltic pump, controlled with Arduino (Adafruit’s Metro). Protoboard contains a dual H-bridge and connectors for the motors and pots.
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Congrats Jenna

Great news from one of my former summer research students; Jenna will be entering SUNY Upstate‘s medical program this fall.

Jenna was in my first crop of summer research students at SUNY Brockport; (check that link, she’s in one of the tie dye lab coats). She was actually a student at MCC participating in the CSTEP program designed to help students find enriching research opportunities.

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Revenge of the Algae

It’s day three of the algae treatment of my pond. The data are not that encouraging if you were rooting for algaecide as a quick fix for my swampy green problem. Here are the results:

Visible spectra of pond water over 3 days

The absorption spectrum looks fairly consistent over the three days. We have had temperature fluctuations of about 10-15 degrees in addition to rain, so there are many variables that can impact subtle variations in the shape of the spectrum. The water has not altered from its turbid, green characteristics, and the spectra support the claim that little has changed in terms of algae content.

Fluorescence spectra (excitation wavelength of 405 nm) of pond water over 3 days. The spectra have been normalized by setting the height of the peak at 405 nm to 1.

The fluorescence spectra are displayed slightly differently from the previous articles in that they have been normalized. Assuming that the excitation peak stays roughly the same regardless of conditions, normalizing the spectra allows for a better comparison of the peak at 690 nm. It looks like there was a big change between days 1 and 2; however there is little change, and possibly an increase, in the peak from day 2 to day 3.

The instructions on the algaecide bottle say to repeat the treatment every 3 days until the pond has cleared. I will do one more treatment of 15 mL and if I do not see any meaningful change in the water quality, I will bite the bullet and replace the water.

Attack of the Algae Part 2

Yesterday I started an algae control protocol for my garden pond and decided to monitor the progress with spectroscopy. I’m simply measuring the absorbance and fluorescence (405 nm excitation) of the pond water using a Vernier Spectravis spectrophotometer. Here are the results, compared with yesterday’s spectra.

Fluorescence spectra (ex. 405 nm) of garden pond water following treatment of the pond with algaecide.
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