Citizen Science Show & Tell

Lightlog Project was accepted to take part in The Edinburgh University Citizen Science Show & Tell event (CSCS@ED) held at the National Museum of Scotland. The keynote lecture was given by Dr. Erinma Ochu, with the main exhibit area a busy and bustling four hours of chatting to members of the public and other Citizen Science attendees – many interesting questions, interesting projects, and some great positive feedback.

Many thanks to all those who visited the stand for a chat, and to the Edinburgh University Citizen Science and Crowdsourced Data and Evidence Network for organising a great event.

Solar Eclipse

Edinburgh, Scotland, Solar Eclipse Friday 20th March 2015

This time last week the Earth arrived at its vernal equinox where some of us in the Northern Hemisphere were treated to a rare Solar Eclipse as a Super Moon drifted in-front of the Sun. In a lightly cloudy Edinburgh, Scotland, we managed a 95% partial eclipse revealing a beautiful crescent.

At the same time as I was taking this photo, a south facing prototype Lightlog was quietly sitting on a window shelf enjoying a lovely day’s worth of light data including its own view of the very same eclipse.

The first image below shows a spectrum visualisation of the received light; the image below that is an enhanced colour version using the same data. Notice how the blue day light desaturates around 9:35am as the Moon’s disk (almost) covers the Sun.

Spectrum visualisation on day of Solar Eclipse

Enhanced colour (scaled saturation) visualisation

The ‘spikes’ in the data are caused as the day’s partial cloud cover drifts over the sun, a clear blue day (as viewed from this stationary Lightlog’s south facing window position) would show a beautiful smooth arc between sunrise and sun set.

Gastrolab RGB Cocktail Party

RGB Cocktail Party
As part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, LateLab hosted a red, green, blue colour themed cocktail party at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Informatics. I was invited to present the opening talk on the effects of light on mood and wellbeing and introduce Lightlog project while the audience were being served a carefully curated range of colour themed cocktails and nibbles to match the talks. If you attended I hope you had a great evening and perhaps even enjoyed a little science!

Thanks to Emilie Baltz, Amanda McDonald, and Mark Daniels for all the event planning and organisation. As usual, Chris Scott took some lovely shots of the evening.

My slides are available here: Light Log RGB Cocktail event

Interview with Project Ginsberg

In an interview with Project Ginsberg, I describe Lightlog and why a daily balance of light is important for mental health.

“Gary Martin talks with our Project Manager Lucy about the Light Log project which is part of Ginsberg thanks to Alt-w funding from New Media Scotland partners. The Light Log project is about creating low cost wearable devices that record ambient light levels and colours from a person’s environment. The data is visualised to show how exposure to too little or too much light may be affecting someone’s mood and energy levels. We imagine that in the future people using Ginsberg can use a Light Log device to record their light intake information along with any other personal information they choose.”

The full audio interview from soundcloud can be played here:

Winter Solstice

Lux chart

December 21st marks the northern hemisphere’s astronomical beginning of winter, both the shortest day and the longest night of the year. In Edinburgh, Scotland, that means only 6 hours 56 minutes of daylight and a long 17 hours 4 minutes of night. Even with good weather — and we were lucky get several hours of blue sky and sun this time — the angle of the sun is so low to the horizon that its rays are relatively weak. I measured approximately 40,000 lx of direct sunlight near midday. As you can see from the lux chart above that is still a good level of light versus staying indoors, so do get out for some fresh air and a walk if you can!

The good news is that each successive day will begin growing ever longer and brighter as our planet continues its arc around our star, tilting northern hemisphere dwellers back towards the sun, giving us all a better chance at catching some of that extra day light. Happy winter solstice!