Archive for the ‘crowdsource’ tag

Spectral Challenge: Public Lab launches a new project to improve open source technology

By March 28th, 2013 at 9:14 am | Comment

Spectral Challenge
Public Lab has launched Spectral Challenge, a two-part crowd funded project to improve the use of open source spectrometers. A spectrometer is a common research tool which uses light to identify an unknown substance’s chemical composition.

Last year, members of the PLOTS community successfully developed a versatile and user friendly $40 spectrometer. While more accessible, the difficulty is making such open source technology reliable. That is where this new project comes in.

Spectral Challenge Stage 1 “Collaboration” ask participants to develop methodology which will improve and standardize the use of open-source spectrometers. Techniques need to be documented and submitted by May 31. The winning team will receive $1000 from the crowd funded prize pool.

Stage 2 “Real World Use” applies these improved methods for research on environmental pollutants such as petroleum or toxic heavy metals. Stage 2 starts June 5 and more details of the competition will follow. Winners will receive 80% of the prize pool money and the remaining 20% will be used to promote future open source technology through the Public Lab nonprofit.

Public Lab emerged from a collaboration between the Grassroots Mapping Community and the Louisiana Bucket Brigade following the 2010 BP oil spill. Its mission is to foster civic science by developing various open-source tools to further environmental research. These tools could be used by formal researchers and citizen scientists alike. Back in September 2012, SciStarter joined with Public Lab to help promote their tools as they related to citizen science projects in the SciStarter Project Finder.

CrowdScanner: A social media experiment in crowdsourcing. (Join our team, today!)

By March 31st, 2012 at 8:22 am | Comments (2)

If you see Chuck, take a picture and upoad it, today!

If you see Chuck, take a picture and upoad it, today!

How can social media be used to accomplish a seemingly impossible task? Today, a social experiment called the “Tag Challenge” sends 5 individuals to roam the streets of New York, DC, Bratislava, Stockholm, and London. The task is to locate them before the sun sets based only on their mugshots. You can contribute by taking and uploading pictures of these individuals if you see them, or even just inviting others to participate!
The $5000 prize will be distributed among the participants, to those who submit pictures as well as those who recruit.

For the CrowdScanner team (which includes SciStarter),  the challenge is a chance to study how information propagates through social networks and what it takes for a message to go viral. The lessons we  learn will help us understand successes and failures of social media in recent events. You can become part of the challenge and help the study by joining our team at

For more info, or to sign up, go to:

Who’s the CrowdScanner team?
The team consists of a group of researchers from MIT, UCSD, Masdar Institute, and University of Southampton (including the guys who won the Red Balloon challenge).

What’s Tag Challenge?
Tag Challenge is a competition to acquire pictures of 5 volunteers, each in public in a different major city, in a single day. Due to its geographically distributed nature, the competition can only be won by the crowd-sourced efforts of people like you and me. More at