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Cosmic Ray Detector

Science is often beautiful, but with a little tech it can become an art installation. Take this colorful cosmic ray detector by Robert Hart that I found on Hackaday. It’s currently receiving seed money as a Hackaday Prize entry with the intention of becoming a Cosmic Array. Robert is using Geiger-Müller tubes to sense muons and his custom PCB allows for a connection to RGB LEDs to produce different colors. His board will also allow for audio sounds, which will make it even more spectacular. Think of it as a ground display of fireworks with a noble cause, according to the creator.

Cosmic Rays have been present throughout the entire evolutionary history of life on our planet and so this display reinforces our connection with the universe and the importance of science and understanding of the natural world.

I’m really enjoying the build logs for this project, from the PCB design to the tour of Ikea’s lamp department. Although the wooden boxes are fine for prototyping, Robert has other ideas for the array.

The detectors in the array may be enclosed in a type of bollard lamp post, sphere, something that hangs on a tree or tripod or is put in the ground like a paving block.

Some people have questioned the accuracy of the Geiger-Muller tubes, but since Robert is trying to create a large installation, he wants to keep the project cost-effective and the tubes keep him on budget. He is already planning 20 devices for the Splash Adelaide Winter Island Festival in Australia and there is also talk of a future IoT version with a live stream of data. So, if this sounds exciting to you, feel free to help Robert by “liking” his project over at Hackaday. Of course I like this project because it’s another great example of how LEDs can help make what is invisible, visible. Learn how our Neopixels can help your next data visualization project. What do you want to show the world?

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you for your kind words, I feel very honoured you like the project! Although I’m down here in little Adelaide, I have admired Adafruit’s business model and CEO’s vision for some time.

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