Crowdsourcing scientific research

Science backyard book2

 

Assassin bug
This assassin bug wasn’t even known to be present in Spain until some people snapped photographs of it.

How to do scientific research without even trying (much)

Books such as the long-out-of-print “Science in Your Own Backyard” suggested that amateurs could learn much about natural science in their local surroundings, without access to large research labs or grants.  Now a group of  Spanish researchers suggests that getting the public involved is a valuable resource for scientific researchers, and has already resulted in notable successes in insect tracking and identification.

A group of Spanish researchers has now written an article that is a mixture of praise for this sort of citizen science, a resource list for people hoping to get involved, and a how-to guide for anyone inspired to join in. The researchers focus on their own area of interest—insects, specifically the hemiptera or “true bugs”—but a lot of what they say applies to other areas of research.

The basics of the sort of citizen science they’re encouraging involves cameras. Every day, people head out of the house with digital cameras that are far more powerful than the ones most scientists could afford a decade ago. In the course of their day, they can easily take photos of plants and animals that can be used to identify the species involved. It just takes a bit of extra work to make these photos scientifically useful.


As 2022 starts, let’s take some time to share our goals for CircuitPython in 2022. Just like past years (full summary 2019, 2020, and 2021), we’d like everyone in the CircuitPython community to contribute by posting their thoughts to some public place on the Internet. Here are a few ways to post: a video on YouTub, a post on the CircuitPython forum, a blog post on your site, a series of Tweets, a Gist on GitHub. We want to hear from you. When you post, please add #CircuitPython2022 and email circuitpython2022@adafruit.com to let us know about your post so we can blog it up here.

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

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