During the recent TEASPILS project meeting of partners, the first hands-on prototype of the TEASPILS Spike was presented. Matching with the ecologic intentions of the project, a nice green colour for the Spike has been chosen. It also shows the project logo and hosting organisation.
The green case of the Spike contains a carefully selected and tested amount of sensors and features to support data-based plant observation and measurements of the micro-climate in the surrounding room. It reports on the classroom climate and gives valuable feedback to when, for example, the oxygen levels drop and the room should be aired.
The project leader, Dr Tabuenca from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, was leading this exciting development. He explained to the partner representatives the way in which the Spike can be used and what benefits it could provide. He also told us about the design challenges the creators had to overcome, because the usage environment in schools and in plant pots is not without risk to the sensitive instruments it houses.
In order to make it a sustainable and reproduceable tool, the Spike has to have its own cable-less power supply and network connectivity. A solar panel was fitted into the roof which is meant to recharge continuously. A separate module provides measurement feedback on CO2 levels, light, humidity or temperature on the spot. Additionally, our partners at the University Pompeu Fabra are working on a web-based visualisation platform that allows teachers to work with groups of students when analysing and learning about environmental conditions and states.
The pedagogic partners of TEASPILS are in the process of preparing an international teachers’ workshop to develop a number of exemplary teaching scenarios of how to use the Spike in connection with indoor potted plants for environmental education and awareness.
Here is the obligatory group photo of the participants in this exciting get-together at the University College of Agrarian and Environmental Education in Vienna.