I am not sure we have been echoing these news, so I am going to write a short blog post after having a chat with Shigeru Kobayashi, the maker of the Arduino FIO, Gainer board and Funnel IO. A small community of Japanese makers are building a network of sensors monitoring the radiation in the air and sending the data to Pachube.
Turns out they are out of the sensors they need to send their data to the internet. This is a call for help finding more of those sensors to help Shigeru and the others monitor the quality of the air. This is what he mentioned during our conversation:
At current moment, SparkFun’s is out of stock, but will be back by the end of April. A hobbyist is working on a russian tube based counters. And Seeed Studio is also working.
The group at Tokyo’s hackerspace, as we informed earlier, is using a hacked Geiger counter, as reported on March 24th:
Unfortunately, geiger counters were sold out everywhere. The fear of nuclear disaster and radiation spread internationally and there was a run on geiger counters. Luckily, Tokyo Hackerspace was able to obtain two of them from Reuseum . They had actually bent over backwards getting them to us quickly and was calling their warehouse for stock and UPS and FedEx to see who would still deliver to Japan. We received them two days ago and I brought them to Tokyo Hackerspace yesterday to show people how to use it. We’re keeping one at the space so that people can borrow it to check out their living area and reassure their families that its safe.
[...] I decided that this geiger counter would reside outside on my balcony, although inside a cardboard box. The reason for this is that most of the geiger feeds in Tokyo right now are indoors and I noticed a larger variance in geiger measurements outdoors versus indoors. I checked the measurements of this geiger inside my apartment and they follow closely with the official government numbers as well as other geiger counters around Tokyo. I figured its better to have it outdoors so that people can get an idea of what they’re being exposed to when walking around. Most of the fallout is particulate matter. As a point of reference, the normal background radiation in Shinjuku is 0.035 uSv/Hr .
This said, if you happen to be seating on top of a box of anything that can monitor radiation, please answer this blog post or send an email to team [at] arduino [dot] cc, we will put you in touch with Shigeru. I think I speak for the whole Arduino Team if I say we will correspond your generosity/help by also contributing to this project.