The leads of Pocket Science Lab are Mario Behling (Germany), Padmal Madhushanka (Sri Lanka) and Chung Weitat (Singapore). Mario is taking care of the project development, Padmal is the tech lead focusing on hardware and software, and Weitat takes responsibility for production and operations.
After many hardware iterations, prototypes and Android Beta releases we produced the first larger batch of 1000 Pocket Science Labs in Shenzhen, China in October 2018.
PSLabs were first introduced in the market in Japan and immediately attracted wide attention in the Maker community. The first delivery to Japan was sold out on the second day. PSLab also sells in the Singapore store and is scheduled to start in EU and China markets.
The beginnings of Pocket Science Lab
At FOSSASIA we develop many Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) projects, but hardware always fascinated us too. At the FOSSASIA summit 2014 in Cambodia we discussed ideas to create Open Source Hardware with a number of developers.
Praveen Kumar proposed to further develop the Sealablet and create software for the device. We started a discussion with Jithin BP who was the developer of the Sealablet. At the time Open Source hardware was still a new idea to many. So, we were very excited when Jithin offered to release an adapted version of his hardware as Open Source under the FOSSASIA organization and later even joined us as a Google Summer of Code student.
2017 we started the development of the Android app, that made it easier for new users to conduct experiments with PSLab without the need for a desktop computer. We also changed the form factor of the device, updated components and added ESP and Bluetooth connectors. All this brought down the cost of production and extended the feature set bringing us closer to our goal of creating real scientific pocket size instruments that can be used by anyone.
The vision to miniaturize laboratories and make scientific instruments accessible for everyone
The vision of PSLab is to miniaturize laboratories and make scientific instruments accessible for everyone.
There are a lot of problems in the world from environmental problems, to daily challenges in our personal lives, to challenges we face in work life. In order to solve these problems we need to understand the world around us. Open Source labs that are small and accessible enable us to do our own experiments and collect our own independent data to do just that. We can also verify official data, e.g. air quality, by doing our own measurements using sensors. Or, use the out of the box tools for measurements of electronics devices and components to ensure they work as expected.
Whatever measurements we do freely licensed Open Source applications and hardware ensure that experiments are replicable and verifiable. They are trustworthy because all layers are open and can be build up from the ground by anyone.