KIT1 “Community Edition”

May 19, 2017 news, production No comments , , ,

For some time now, the community helped improving the KIT1 design spawning many custom variants. This proves the utility of the KIT1 as an IOT device: a tiny little gadget, that can talk to the internet on itself, using little power, equipped with a multitude of sensors to sense the world around us.

All these variants brought useful improvements. Probably the most impressive was the one constructed by Akos, which he documented in the previous blog post.

Open source design

What we’ve seen so far is consistent with advantages of the open source designs. Get the KIT1 code from Github, and modify it to suit your needs. You have everything there from source code to PCB design.

Community edition

Some of you might recall the variant built by our community fellow ukewarrior. He produced several PCBs and also a few of the nice acrylic cases and is offering them for sale. Just to make sure we’re clear, this is the latest KIT1 design, compatible with the latest firmare (hardware 1.2.105). If you ask me, this is top notch quality, but see for yourself:

Order yours

You can order a fully assembled stock KIT1 unit here, or go for the variant made by ukewarrior that you saw in this article. You can contact him by email on .

The Devil is in the details

May 15, 2017 production No comments , ,

For some time now I’ve been swamped with work, among other things working to finalise one of the hardware products I designed, the uRADMonitor D. This is the very one that goes back to 2015, and had a very quick start with the prototype being ready in only a month.

From BETA to the Final Version

As a BETA, everything was mainly working. The major modules were all in place, software was functioning properly, the device was doing its job. Almost.

Then the battery was leaking current resulting in quick shelf discharge, with device turned off. Why? Because of this and that, the idea is a new PCB had to be reworked.

Two new features impacted the design, as I added an SDCARD slot for offline data storage and a GPS module to precisely map coordinates to location. This required a new PCB design and a new product iteration. The WLAN antenna was removed in favour of an internal ceramic antenna, and the aluminium enclosure design had to be changed to find a way to let the radio waves escape the Faraday cage:

Next, the real time clock expressed some erratic issues, sometimes the second it counted was not really a second, it was more or less, resulting in incorrect time keeping. We don’t want a time machine here, we just need accurate time measurement, to accompany the data measurements. This had to do with some RF interference from the DC-DC converters, nasty stuff. Yes, new PCBs had to be made again. More time, more tests.

Finally, things were getting pushed the right direction, but at the cost of considerable time and effort. The 5th PCB iteration was performing good, all modules, all tests. I sent it in production:

The BETA code was 3000 lines of code. I rewrote the firmware completely. I didn’t write a bare OS for it, although I have to admit some threads would have come handy. Instead the implementation uses interrupts to do some of the essential things in parallel and that is good enough. So we have real time sensor readings via dedicated drivers, QVGA screen display, user touch gestures being recognised via the touchscreen, mini-webserver running in the background and Wifi Access Point, SDCARD I/O file ops, GPS readings, central server data sync. All this on an 8bit microcontroller, true it’s the powerful 2561 from Atmel.

Code got to 9000 lines. This includes the new UI , yes, there is an actual UI on this low level thing. Also the virtual keyboard, you need for configuring the WLAN. It’s almost a smartphone, built from scratch:

Finally, the LCD and the new GPS antenna needed some plastic parts to be held in place. I needed an affordable solution, but the only option I could use was via the silicone mold. Drawing the 3D models, then sending them to the manufacturer for ABS injection:

The silicone molds:

Here are the results:

And a final photo (but without the final plastics):

Done? Unfortunately not yet. uRADMonitor D is an IOT device, and so it has a server component. With the addition of the GPS receiver, this unit became highly mobile, and there was no proper support for that. So a new development direction was to implement backend and frontend support for the new mobile uRADMonitor units:

I am about the ship the first batch of units to the early customers. For those of you interested in purchasing this hardware to support the development of the uRADMonitor project, you can find more info here.

For now, this product is complete, and life goes back to the “normal” pace.

The year is 2017

Site v5.0

April 25, 2017 news No comments , , ,

The continuous improvements to the uRADMonitor network are demanding more changes both to the units themselves but also to the central infrastructure. While we saw considerable progress on the hardware side with the model D and the new model A3 and model CITY units, the server was also been in the attention with important new additions like the Dashboard or the Dynamic ID system used in the Open Source KIT1 hardware. And since the last 4.0 upgrade, these are just a few of the many new features implemented.

To summarise the new v5.0 frontend in a word, that would be “dynamic”. Both the maps and the charts are interactive, and this translates to better access to the data. With the new uRADMonitor detectors (like the model D that runs on battery and has a built in GPS), the frontend had to support a new class of uRADMonitor devices, the mobile units. Here’s a demo video presenting these units and the support we added for them:

To iterate some of the things presented in the video, the major features include:
1.Mobile units support
The map will refresh automatically to update the position of mobile units in real time. Speed and altitude are displayed, while the readings in the chart will update accordingly. Make sure the “Automated refresh” option is enabled, and your unit is selected (Blue dot). In “Cluster” and “Gradient” visualisation modes, the mobile units are displayed as triangles, while the fixed units are represented as squares. A cluster of units is a circle, with its size proportional to the number of units contained.

2.History view
If History view is enabled in the left menu and a mobile unit is selected, you will see the history chart at the bottom for the time interval you’ve selected, but also the corresponding path that unit covered on the map. This powerful feature will quickly identify various measurements to their exact location on the map.

3.The left menu
Includes two new selectors: one for the sensor parameter and one for the time interval. You can use them to see uniform global data on the map. If a particular unit is equipped with the sensor you’ve selected (eg. Temperature), its last 24hours average of the particular measurement will appear on the map. The default visualisation view is set for “Clusters”, meaning nearby units will be joined in clusters, depending on the zoom level, to make the vizualization cleaner and easier to follow. The clusters will be labeled with an average of all the units included, and the circle symbol will have its size proportional to the number of units included.

Clicking a cluster will zoom in to its comprising area, while also showing the contained units at the bottom. Click them to open:

4.Direct ID access
When you click a cluster you see its comprising units. You can click these IDs to open a particular unit and see the readings history. If you want to open a unit directly, you can still use the previous syntax:
Here is a quick example to that:
5.Visualisation options
The other visualisation options include Simple, Gradient, Heatmap and Cluster, use them as needed. Change the Sensor selector to the value you are interested in.
The heatmap presents a color function that takes both the weight and the density as arguments. Keep that in mind when interpreting the visual representations. Zooming in will be needed to remove the density factor if color interpretation is required.

For the “Clusters” and “Gradient” visualisation methods, a Legend is displayed at the right-bottom corner of the map, to provide a quick indication on the scale of the values represented on the map. The legend will show a minimum and a maximum value, and the Unit of Measure of the sensor you selected. For example, PM2.5 will use micrograms per cubic meter, while CO2 will display in ppm (parts per million). Radiation will show in microSieverts per hour, and so on.

6.More detailed unit view
When selecting a unit, the bottom part of the screen will load a chart showing readings for the selected time interval, and for the selected sensor. This part of the screen was also designed to pack more information, like type of hardware detector, version, time it joined the network, and more.

Like before, these charts support zooming by drag and drop, both on the horizontal and the vertical axis. This mechanism allows to zoom in on the time factor, or the actual value being measured, to analyse various pulses and trends in the data. To revert to default zoom level, simply double click the chart.

7.The dashboard
This part of the new site v5.0 was covered in a separate article. The Dashboard can be used to access raw data and measurements from the uRADMonitor cloud, both in CSV/JSON format, but also via the RESTful API as direct HTTP Calls. If you own a uRADMonitor hardware unit, you can use the Dashboard to configure your unit. Finally, the dashboard is the place to set notifications and alarms to be informed when a particular unit reaches a given threshold eg. excessive PM2.5 in your area to avoid any outdoor walks, to protect your health.

8.Open Layers 4.1.0
Not visible to the naked eye, but important from a programatic point of view and directly impacting performance, the new frontend was upgraded with the latest version of OpenLayers map library, for the data map representations.

Not to leave aesthetics aside, certain animation effects where added to the frontend, to make navigation more appealing, like when opening a unit by direct ID access or by clicking a node on the map, the map will zoom and pan to bring the unit in the center.

There is a forum section created to discuss the new features, propose new ideas or report any issues. See it here.

Ciudanovita, the people and the uranium

April 16, 2017 research 4 comments , , ,

Every gain comes at a price, and so the comfort of technology claims its cost at some other end. For nuclear energy – what it gives is known, modern living conditions, heating, illumination, transportation and all in one the civilised world as we know it. Yet what it takes sometimes remains in the shade, like what an environmental mess irresponsible uranium mining can be, and how hard it is to clean that up?

Ciudanovita in March, 2017

Ciudanovita, in the Caras-Severin county, is one such example. Sadly, it’s a mix of grey Romanian history under Russian occupation, radioactive contamination of a piece of heaven and the struggle for a normal life of those that are still living there.

Ciudanovita surroundings

Under Russian occupation, the Soviets had interest in this area. After the initial prospections in the 1950s, they began uranium ore mining in the 1952, using their own equipment and local workers. This lasted up until 1957 when the SOVROMs were disbanded. Then the Romanians continued the operations until 1964 finalising the country’s debts of war to Russia. All this time, the uranium ore was simply loaded in containers and shipped to the East by train. The mining required signifiant resources, and as a direct result the colony of Ciudanovita grew in population, reaching as high as 35000 people. There was a local hospital, a cinema, restaurants, places with live music and draft beer and many shops.

Ciudanovita today

When one approaches the area today, will first notice the difficult access. The roads are poor, unmaintained. The Geiger counter will sound its alarm in various places while getting closer to the former mines.

The colony is in the immediate vicinity of the mines. The problem is people are living in a valley, and one of the slopes right next of the village is where the ore residue has been deposited. It is obvious this forms a channel for rain water to infiltrate the groundwater, not to mention the strong winds blowing contaminated fine dust over the populated area at only a few hundreds of meters in the valley. The surface readings in the residue area, called “Golgota” are rather high, surpassing 1uSv/h in many places.

Highly radioactive uranium ore residue dumps nearby the populated area

Elevated readings on the Gamma Scout Geiger Counter

Ignorance or neglijence, the mining project cared little about keeping the place clean. Radioactive ore was carelessly loaded in trains, but from the mine to the train station, some of it also padded the roads and the surroundings. Some of that it is still there, throwing invisible ionising radiation to anything in the area.

Contamination map

Readings detail in the uranium ore residue dumps

It was bad enough to see a village in poverty due to its main source of income – mining collapsed. There are so many similar areas in Romania, but for this one in particular, add the dangerous invisible enemy lurking around, for a nightmarish scenario. Those that have their homes there live it everyday. There were some plans to clean the area, but no proper action was taken so far.

Additional resources:
Fosta mina de uraniu de la Ciudanovita neecologizata nici acum
Ciudanovita locul din Romania unde radiatiile de uraniu depases de 100 de ori limita de alerta
Moartea poarta numele de Ciudanovita
Marturisiri din Ciudanovita

CeBIT 2017 Hannover

March 27, 2017 events, news No comments , , ,

One of the World’s greatest technology fairs ended last week, leaving a deep impact in the minds of the participants. It became obvious that we are heading towards some major milestones in IC&T. So the message was about the current trends that are beginning to take shape, redefining the close future. A few of these directions that are getting closer to a mature phase are presented here.


The drones presented at CeBIT 2017 where nothing less than impressive. Certainly it is not the first time this technology is being showcased, but now we begin to see some of the first mature applications. There were drone swarms (formations of drones), devices that are interconnected to perform team jobs. This builds upon the limitations of a single unit while adding news attributes such as swarm reaction, strategic intervention and increased team dynamics.

Some were intervention drones equipped with robotic arms, to performs various tasks in remote locations. These are also useful to save costs and preserve the lives of human workers previously doing the dangerous jobs (electric cables, defusing, hazardous environments, etc):

The surveillance drones are not new, but seeing the long range variants was certainly impressive.

While some of the designs go up in scale, covering longer ranges with autonomous drone control and bigger batteries, the opposite was also presented at CeBIT as tiny flying devices, remotely controllable.

And finally, there were also drone racing contests, where the pilots were humans (remember Ender’s Game?), but the very same can be done with silicon, improving the reaction times a few thousand times. Imagine that, as it was scary already.


While the true AI still has a long way to go, starting something is the first step to a result. A team of robots where happily demoing their soccer skills, a game that involves team synchronisation, environmental awareness, strategy and many sensors to achieve “the simple” task of scoring a goal:

Nothing of the above complexity, some robots where there only for the show, dancing. Kids are not to be neglected so there are plenty of applications for the little white guy too:

Back to more serious stuff, a research team founded by the German government (why don’t we have this in Romania?!) came up with multiple autonomous rovers designed to walk the surface of alien worlds. How exciting is that!

These were a combination of sensors and automation routines to allow them to perform complicated tasks in hazardous environments.

Resembling the Tin Man, the operator robot was quietly completing his task for the day, or for the night, as it is obvious one of these could go on continuously, while his power cord is connected. Surely a great way of boosting the production capabilities.

A bit on a different direction, the exo skeletons are a robotic technology that can augment the human capabilities to a new level. This was just for the show, but where this goes is obvious:

And yes, it doesn’t have to be a full suit to help, like for example, replacing a missing arm:

Internet of Things

IOT became part of our homes, the industrial production processes, we even wear them in watches or glasses. We took small steps to get here, but it is clear the world was changed. Technology is now part of our lives, in the very same way the electric bulb is a must have today. The uRADMonitor network has seen the beginning of this direction, and evolved ever since. The first uRADMonitor hardware design used Ethernet connectivity to measure background radioactivity automatically, saving considerable electric power and resources in the process. The uRADMonitor project was showcased at CeBIT 2017:

As the IOT is shaping to better fit our needs, we already see various ready-for-market applications:

Even the parking lots can be monitored, saving time and managing the City resources better with this sensor from ZTE:

Surely, many things will change, and one of major importance in IOT is security. IOT spawned from the enthusiasm of automating our lives, and in the speedy development security was sometimes neglected. A small reminder on that came live from Edward Snowden, former CIA employee, showing how technology that invades our personal space can do us harm:

Computers evolved, opening the path to all these exciting applications. Processing power costs less , both in terms of money and operating power, and it will not stop here. The robots, the drones, our phones, our smart TVs are all examples of how miniaturisation of the digital technology transformed regular products into tiny computational units, ready to serve our needs. This is the world of today, and CeBIT made it clear. Technology it is here to stay, and our world is transformed in a new, digital direction.

A word of ending

Machines are faster, smarter and this is only the beginning. One day they’ll break the barrier that keeps them dependant to human instructions. That is where evolution will mark a new milestone in, hopefully, the continuation of mankind.

To cut the apocalyptic scenario, this event was also about people and about strengthening our relations beyond the geopolitical barriers, about trade and competitiveness, natural processes that ultimately serve our progress:

And to be honest, as the fair was in Hannover I should add that the human element is probably unique in recognising the excellent taste of a good German beer:

These are the premises. Are you ready for the future?

Firmware upgrade for the A3 with Wifi

March 4, 2017 news, technical No comments , , , ,

The uRADMonitor model A, the KIT1 and the model A3 with Ethernet have all taken advantage of various scripts and tools developed by the community which allowed direct data access over their LAN connection. You can see a few of these below:
uRADMonitor weather station integration
Local stats graph with uRADMonitor
RRD Tool graphing
Include uRADMonitor in monitoring software
Setup local graphs
On the other hand, the A3 WLAN variant, while offering excellent cable free installations, it didn’t provide an embedded mini webserver, for direct access to the measurements like the above. This was an issue, especially because there was no way to configure the WLAN settings of the A3. To make it connect to a given SSID, one needed to have the details hardcoded in the firmware. Something that some of you were rightfully not happy with.

Firmware upgrade for the A3 with Wifi

“Due to popular demand…”, so many great things related to uRADMonitor started this way. Same with this one. You asked for this feature, and we finally have it. Starting with firmware v124, the A3 Wifi variant exposes an embedded webserver, that can be used for direct data access, including with the tools mentioned above, but also for setting up the SSID and password to connect to for Internet access. The format of the mini webpage stays the same, here are two snapshots, first is unit 8200005F connected via Wifi and the second is 82000062 using Ethernet connectivity. You can see the content is the same.

The JSON format remained the same, so it will work out of the box with all the previous tools:

Finally, the third section of this mini webpage is the WLAN configuration page, that provides a basic mechanism to setup the wireless network you want your A3 to connect to. There are two fields for entering the SSID and the key, and a status text to indicate if the connection was successful.

First time setup guide

The uRADMonitor A3 is a powerful air quality detector, equipped with probably more sensors than you’ll ever need. The WLAN variant offers great flexibility in installing this unit virtually anywhere, both indoors and outdoors. While we’re at it, you can read more on the A3 sensors and see full product specs here. The first time you start an A3.Wifi unit, you’ll need to set it up. Make sure the radio antenna is connected, then power it up. On a nearby computer with Wifi, check the list of available Access Points. The complex A3.Wifi firmware spawns a local Wifi hotspot, that you can connect to. The name is uRADMonitor-XX, where the last two symbols are the last two of the unique device ID:

The A3 Wifi Hotspot is password protected. You will find the password in the docs accompanying the A3 unit. Next open the A3 IP in your browser, , and click the “WIFI” link at the bottom:

The Wifi Settings page is a simple dialog where you need to enter the SSID and password of the Access Point you want your A3 to connect to, before it can report data online:

Press the button and a few moments later the status text will update. If the SSID and key are correct, and the Access Point is in range, you’ll see the label showing “Connected”, and your setup is complete. The credentials are saved and will be used from now on, including after power cycles.

With the unit connected to your Access Point, you can also access the internal website using the allocated LAN IP.

Getting the new features

You can update your A3 to the new firmware right now. Contact us for the firmware file. The update process is similar to the one presented here, for the Model A. Dave Jones at EEVBlog did a comprehensive video review on how he updated the firmware on his own model A unit. The procedure is identical for the model A3 as well:

KIT1 screenless variant

February 11, 2017 technical No comments , ,

Technically this is still a KIT1, and runs KIT1 firmware, but it becomes very similar to a model A unit, as it does everything a model A does. LZ1JER built one for his new weather station based on a Raspberry Pi, which is an impressive construction already:

As you can see, this KIT1 variant is designed as a component to a bigger system, in this case the weather station, but can be used as a standalone detector too. You just need to connect it to power and to the Internet via an Ethernet cable, and the data becomes available on the uRADMonitor portal, automatically. LZ1JER released the details to the public domain, and he was kind enough to provide all relevant construction details on the uRADMonitor Forum, so this device can be replicated by those of you that are interested.

For the PCB, use the attached PDFs, the first two are for guidance, while the third is what you need to make your own boards:
Toner transfer works nice for these, and here is an example:

The combination of SMD and through hole components makes this easy to solder. Very little holes need to be drilled. The BOM list is attached below:
T6, T3 = MMBT2907A PNP 60/60V 600mA 0.225W 45/100nS
T2 = SST2222A NPN 75/40V 600mA 0.2W hfe 75 300MHz 25/60ns
T1 = MMBTA42 SMD NPN 300V 500mA 0.225/0.3W
vOLTAGE REGULATOR = BA033CC0FP 3.3V±2% 1A, LDO 0.5V, Vinmax=25V
C6, C10, C11 = SIZE 1210 10nF 1000V X7R 10nF 1000V X7R +-10%
D2, D3, D4 = US1M 1000V 1A UFM1.7V/1A IFM30A IR10uA 75ns, Ultra Fast
All others C, R are size 1206 SMD

And the final result:

Kudos to LZ1JER for this excellent design! For any questions you can reach him on the uRADMonitor Forum.

Alba Iulia becomes the first Romanian #SmartCity

February 9, 2017 events, news No comments , , ,

Alba Iulia is a city located on the Mureş River in Alba County, Transylvania, Romania. Its history goes back to ancient Roman times (106 to 275AD), when the existing settlement was known as Apulum. The following years bear mark of glorious historical deeds, making this city a symbol for the Romanian nation. Michael the Brave gloriously entered Alba Iulia back in 1599, uniting Wallachia, Moldavia and Transylvania under his rule. Years later, in 1918, Alba Iulia was once again the place where the union of Transylvania with the Kingdom of Romania was proclaimed.

The Union of Transylvania with Romania was declared on December 1, 1918 by the assembly of the delegates of ethnic Romanians held in Alba Iulia.

But back to our times, those visiting the city will be delighted to discover the wonders of the past, preserved impeccably around the walls of the Alba Carolina fortress, the largest citadel in Romania.

Alba Iulia today

As the Romanian ICT industry ranks high on the market for products and services based on smart technologies, the Ministry of Communications and Information Society released for public consultation the Romania Smart City Guide, published on 2nd of December, 2016. It is a compendium of best practices, intelligent solutions and technologies that applied to local and regional communities can make cities smarter. This has a huge impact on citizens and public administration, improving the access to Products and Services in health and education systems. The project was launched with a debuting conference, at Alba Iulia, the city hosting a new reference event with the first steps towards the implementation of a Smart City in Romania.

Alba Iulia #SmartCity conference participants, (C) 2016 City of Alba Iulia

An important first step for the Alba Iulia Smart City 2018 pilot project was taken with the cooperation agreement approved by Orange Romania and the municipality of Alba Iulia. “Orange Romania will contribute to the design and implementation of this smart city by providing an open, interoperable, and modular platform that is tailored to the needs of the city and its citizens. The costs of developing and implementing the solutions for the pilot project shall be fully covered by Orange Romania, which is supported in this project by several world-class partners : Civic Alert, Magnasci (uRadMonitor), Tech Lounge, FullscreenDigital, Gebs (Zoniz), Flashnet”. Read more in the Orange press release.
The involvement of Magnasci in the program is related to manufacturing a number of uRADMonitor A3 detectors to be installed in the city. With support from Orange Romania, 15 uRADMonitor model A3 detectors have been deployed in public transportation at the moment of speaking. Radu Motisan presented the benefits impacting the health of citizens and the quality of the environment:

Several uRADMonitor A3 detectors were installed in public transportation in Alba Iulia

Thanks to this technology, we now have precise, real time indications on pollutions affecting the city and the nearby regions, as covered by the buses carrying the uRADMonitor detectors.

Press articles:
1. Ministry of Communications and Information Society
2. In partnership with Orange, Smart Cities are coming to Romania
3. A fost lansat oficial proiectul pilor cu solutii de digitalizare a orasului Alba Iulia
4. Alba Iulia Smart City 2018 a fost lansat la Universitatea 1 Decembrie 1918
5. Alba Iulia Smart City
6. Alba Iulia devine orasul High Tech al Romaniei prin parteneriatul cu Orange
7. Ghidul Smart City pentru Romania lansat la Alba Iulia

Chivas The Venture Semifinals

December 6, 2016 events, news No comments , , , ,

uRADMonitor entered The Venture, a global competition created by Chivas, that offers 1 million dollars to create something that has a major social impact. This is the third edition, and the rumour has it that this year the competitiveness has increased considerably. We were happy to receive the invitation to the semifinals, together with other 9 companies.

The semifinalists

10 semifinalists were invited in Bucharest to present their businesses and their social impact. The organisers did a top notch job managing to bring the people together in a very friendly environment where the presentations got closer to a session of exchanging great ideas. Add a glass of the finest scotch and you’re in the perfect mood to think about our united potential, and how to move the mountains using technology or various innovative ideas.

Radu Motisan presenting uRADMonitor

Radu Susanu was the first to present the Wespr, a small wearable that sends the owner’s GPS coordinates to the emergency services. It is designed as a way of shortening rescue time. Click the photo to see the presentation video:

Radu Susa on Chivas The Venture stage

Next on the stage was Camil Moldoveanu, presenting the Reflex product, a healthcare wearable addressed to patients requiring physiotherapy that can now finish their sessions at home:
Camil Moldoveanu

The third presentation addressed a high tech area, with a solution for 3D bio printing. Calin Brandabur presented Symme3D, a delta 3D printing platform that is now under design designed to handle stem cells:
Calin Brandabur presenting Symme3D

Next was Liviu Andrei Dascalu with Mira, a video gaming system used in patient recovery, so the therapy can be improved using IT:
Liviu Andrei Dascalu

The fifth presenter addressed water filtering for affected areas where water becomes as precious as gold, with an innovative design that can work for 10 years without any maintenance. Khaled Al Mezayen, presenting the SOWAT system:
SOWAT, presented by Khaled Al Mezayen

Miguel Borges, and his VTREE, an urban modern element shaped as a tree, with solar panels, Wifi and power outlets to recharge phones and connect people using its shadow:
Miguel Borges

Radu Motisan presented the uRADMonitor, the environmental monitoring network designed to sense the air we breath and impact people’s health an a cleaner environment. The short term effect is people’s awareness on pollution, while on the long term our mission influences decision makers and legislation, since we transform the invisible into measurable numbers. Video is in Romanian:
Radu Motisan presenting the uRADMonitor global network

The 8th presented was Andras Kapy, with Axosuits, an exoskeleton that aims to return mobility to those with locomotor disabilities:
Andras Kapy

The next minutes, we were delighted to see Ana Dragan presenting Track My Vibe, using a wearable to identify and monitor symptoms related to neurological conditions, like Parkinson:
Ana Dragan

For the last presentation, Lac Cristian presented his web app meant to encourage ecological agriculture:
Lac Cristian and Bio Farming web app

They Jury

Four prestigious experts formed the jury board: Cristian China Birta blogger, George Buhnici producer of iLikeIT and owner, Marius Ghenea – business angel and entreprenouship expert and Tudor Furir, CEO of Pernod Ricard Romania.

The finalists

With great power comes great responsibility, so here’s the moment the jury had to carry on with the difficult task of selecting 5 out of the 10 projects.

Marius Ghenea evaluating the uRADMonitor A3 hardware

After the deliberation, the winners were announced. uRADMonitor was selected, together with Axosuits, MIRA, Reflex and SOWAT
uRADMonitor, Axosuits, Mira, Reflex and SOWAT are finalists in Chivas The Venture Romania

A successful event

Besides the sweet taste of victory, this event was about meeting new people, making friends, and sharing a common vision. It is a truly uplifting feeling to see so many people interested in improving the quality of life and using their knowledge and resources to create impact for the good of many. Above all, we were honoured to be part of this. There is a voting campaign where you can support one of the 5 projects with a vote, ending on January 6 2017. Thanks for your support!

Innomatch ’16

November 23, 2016 events, news No comments , , , ,

The fourth edition of the Regional Innovation Fair took place in Timisoara, bringing together local and international guests for an intense day of presentations and networking focused on the innovation ecosystem.
The organisers, Tehimpuls and ADR West provided an excellent environment for exchanging ideas and establishing new partnerships, in an elegant location.
We were as well, part of the conference section, presenting uRADMonitor as a product entirely based on innovation from the technical implementation up to the business model. It was a good moment, celebrating almost one year of activity for the startup behind this project.

Digital Romania Forum Industry 4.0

November 5, 2016 events, news No comments , , , , , ,

Industry 4.0 or the fourth industrial revolution, is the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies, including cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things and cloud computing. In this context the Digital Romania Industry 4.0 International Forum took place on November 3rd at the Victoria Palace in Bucharest and brought together high level officials including President Klaus Wener Iohannis, Prime-minister Dacian Ciolos, European Commissioner for Digital Economy & Society Gunther Oettinger, key decision makers and industry leaders on three relevant sectors: smart cars, smart cities and agri tech. The event marked the launch of a national scale Manifesto for a Digital Romania envisioned as a consistent base for the country’s rapid advancements towards the new era.
“Romania must capitalize on its digital advantages that include a highly performing broadband infrastructure and a dynamic IT sector”, President Klaus Iohannis said at the opening of the event.
The Prime-minister presented the Manifesto, and a three objectives strategy to start the implementation: “First of all, we put forward this „Manifesto for a digital Romania” … We therefore established a strategy around three objectives. On the one hand, a better coordination of investment and public money spending in the IT field, with citizens oriented results, to reflect in the administration performance. Secondly, supporting innovation, research- development and entrepreneurship and thirdly, measures to draw specialized professionals in the public sector and to ensure them a stable employment”
“Romania will become an important player in the European digital market and in our plan is to have an active European Union”, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Gunther H. Oettinger told the International Digital Romania – 4.0 Industry Forum on Thursday.
The following three sections discussed topics of major importance and the distinguished speakers contributed with comprehensive insights:
Mr. Dorin Odiatiu of Orange, presented the Alba Iulia Smart City Pilot Project, where uRADMonitor was a key component responsible for air quality data, bringing our solution in front of the audience. Thanks go to the Innovation Department of Orange Romania for their vision, trust and support.
With these premises being set, it is clear the Romanian administration is committed to supporting innovation players. We salute this excellent initiative and remain dedicated to developing innovation to impact the quality of life. More on this event on the Government news page.

Upgrade my City 2016

November 5, 2016 events No comments , , ,

Upgrade my city 2016 took place in Timisoara during the 2nd and 3rd of November, shaped as a call to action to all those living inside this city: individuals, companies, universities and the administration. Targeting 4 general directions health, education, town planning and entrepreneurship, the event stimulated active and collaborative involvement of the participants:
As a project that emerged from this city, uRADMonitor took place in this initiative pitching for action to lower pollution and increased quality of the environment.
The feedback was generated on an Athenian democracy model, with the city dwellers directly proposing solutions to the current problems.
As a result of this event, uRADMonitor will contribute with a number of air quality detectors. Not only this will bring Timisoara one step closer to a smart city implementation, but we’ll be able to identify pollution hotspots, resulting in action to lower those emissions. More on this event here. Special thanks for this initiative go to OAR Timis, Smart city association, Alergotura and Initiative in Education.


October 25, 2016 events, news No comments , , ,

The third cycle of the RICAP Innovation program concluded last week in Bucharest with an elegant evening in the company of RICAP mentors, participants, alumni and ecosystem supporters.
The event highlighted the tech entrepreneurs who participated in this year’s program for an opportunity of drawing conclusions and providing feedback in an inspirational gathering. uRADMonitor was present at the event, highlighting the importance of developing technology with a positive impact on the quality of life.
Prominent guests including representatives of the state administration, the US Embassy, the Romanian American Foundation, but also investors, RICAP team members and mentors created a favourable framework to communicate ideas directly to decision makers of the innovation ecosystem.
We express our gratitude to the RICAP program organisers for their positive attitude towards the uRADMonitor project in its mission of increasing awareness on pollution and environmental issues.

Open Source uRADMonitor KIT1

October 12, 2016 news, technical 16 comments , , , ,

Open Source means collaborative work, joined effort leading to extraordinary things. Recently we saw how a talented maker from Oradea, Romania pushed his KIT1 #uradmonitor unit to the limit!
He used a lot of his personal time to build and document something better than the original. In the end he asked for nothing except to get access to the entire KIT1 source code so it can be improved further by the community of makers. We got the message and decided to act.

The server infrastructure

uRADMonitor is Big Data. Hundreds of detectors worldwide are collecting measurements every minute, and the server deals with millions of entries in its database every day. The database holding KIT1 data was designed for efficiency: only the minimum data goes in. One reason for open sourcing was to allow customising the KIT1 units with additional sensors. We had to adapt the server backend in this regards, and now there’s an expandable list of parameters that can be uploaded.
Then there’s the data accuracy which needs to be guaranteed to a reasonable degree by supervising and testing the hardware, something impossible with open, remote constructions. Making the server decide if the data is genuine or just some random useless bits was not an easy task.
Last but not least, here comes the security. Initially, open source can be a source of vulnerabilities of the exposed system. We had to make sure the new open communication protocol is safe to use. We’ve implemented API Authorisation for all data uploads generated by the Open Source KIT1 units. Go to the dashboard, and create an account if you don’t have one already. You’ll need to use the user-id and the user-key listed there with your new uRADMonitor KIT1. If you go for the stock firmware, then you won’t need them.

Please welcome the Open Source uRADMonitor KIT1

With so many changes on the server backend, we had to improve the KIT1 circuit and PCB. We tried to add many of the suggestions received on the forum. From now on however, feel free to fork the original Github repository and do whatever you like with this open design. The new version is KIT1.2.105, and you can see the first design images below:
The new design is more compact, so if you want to add a battery you’ll have more space. The arrangement of some components has been optimised and the regulator becomes the single SMD component on this otherwise exclusively through hole components PCB. As soon as we get the first of the new PCBs, we’ll add more pictures with them.

Using the KIT1.2

Once your KIT1.2 circuit is complete, download the firmware code from Github. In config.h add your user-id and user-key from the dashboard.
Compile the code, and write the HEX to your board, using a 6 PIN ISP connector. For the fuse settings, if you followed the original design, you’ll need to set the external 8MHz crystal, and make sure the EESAVE fusebit is set.

avrdude -p atmega328p -c usbasp -U lfuse:w:0xDC:m -U hfuse:w:0xD7:m  
avrdude -p atmega328p -c usbasp -U flash:w:uradmonitor-KIT1-EXP.hex:i

Your unit will receive a device ID allocated dynamically by the server. If you want to use a BME280 sensor, there is code already in place. Just make sure the USE_BME280_SENSOR is set in the config file.

Adding more sensors

With the extension port that exposes I2C, UART and power, you have the possibility to add a large number of additional sensors. Add the sensor driver code, and do the sensor reading in app/data.cpp and app/data.h initSensors() and readSensorsSlow(). To send the data online, see the code file misc/expProtocol.h for parameter IDs and how they are used in uRADMonitor.cpp line 350. More parameter IDs will be added based on demand. All previous KIT1 hardware versions are compatible with the new firmware. For any questions and assistance, use the forum.
To compile the code, please use Eclipse and the AVR Crosspack plugin as well as the AVRDude software. For uploading the HEX code, you can use the versatile usbAsp programmer configured for 3.3V!


uRADMonitor KIT1 is released under GPL v3 or newer. Read the license terms here. For custom licensing, contact us.
Download PCB layout, Gerber files and firmware source code here.

Building the KIT1 with extra features

October 3, 2016 news, technical 25 comments , , , ,

Last week I’ve assembled a KIT1 and posted some details about it to the forum. radhoo praised the article and asked me to share it on this blog, maybe will be helpful for the readers. So, here is an updated “copy-paste” from the original post.
The diy kit is based on the v1.1.104 pcb. It was made with minor modifications / improvements regarding the original model. First of all, I’m a beginner in all this electronics and coding stuff, so if I wrote something stupid, please correct me. I’m always open for constructive criticism. Second, sorry for my English, it is not my native language.

Differences to the original KIT1

– Incorporated lithium battery
– Builtin battery charger module + micro usb port
– Low dropout (0.17v) regulator
– Real PoE connectivity, no additional cable / connector needed on the device side, just the rj45 connector
– Transparent case made from plexiglass
Updated BOM, with the components I used (if something is missing, please let me know).
Note: I bought the components for these kits from local stores, the best available quality. Hence, the visual aspect of these components may differ from the originals shipped with the KIT1. I measured / tested all of them before soldering, to make sure everything is up to the specs.
I built 2 kits: one for me and on for a friend. He asked to make it portable, because he will use it mainly on field, as a mobile unit, outdoors and on industrial working sites. This raised two challenges:
The final product has to have a:
– reliable and high capacity rechargeable battery
– a robust but not too bulky case
Regarding the pcbs, after some emails, radhoo was so kind to send me 2 pieces, thank you again! And because i didn’t want to ‘destroy’ these beauties, all the modifications are made without hacking the pcb!

Power supply / charger / power consumption

Nowadays the “standard” power supply for handheld devices is the type b micro usb port. You can find them virtually anywhere. Also, it is fairly easy (and very cheap) to implement them into DIY stuff, using these modules. To add these without modifying the pcb, I simply glued them with 10 minutes epoxy. Not too smart, but will surely withstand the abuse of the backlash from the usb cable.
As for the battery, probably everybody has access to some broken smartphones… although the phone or display is broken, chances are good that the battery is still functional. You just have to hook up to the output of the charging module and the input of the voltage stabiliser and it is ready to use. I’ve used one scavenged element from an old macbook battery. It contains 4 lithium cells, similar to the one on this site. The cells are roughly the size of the kit1 pcb. This way, I saved all costs on charger + battery (0.3 euro).
filtering-2To keep a safe distance between the aluminum foil of the battery and the bottom of the pcb (high voltage!), I used 4 self adhesive rubber shoes, like those intended for furniture.
Most lithium batteries have a nominal voltage of 3.6V (min 2.9V, max 4.2V). The recommended operating voltage for the KIT1 is min 3.0V, max 3.3V. To use the battery to the maximum, I opted for a 3.0V voltage regulator. It has to have ultra low dropout voltage, in order to maximize battery life.
I also had to replace the original lm1117 voltage stabiliser, because it has a large dropout voltage, 1.1v. (this would be: 3.0 + 1.1 = 4.1v, maybe just 5% of the overall battery capacity. Not suited for my case … ).
After a lot of research, I bought the MCP1700-3002E/TO regulator. It has a very low dropout, only 0.17V! We get: 3.0 + 0.17 = 3.17v, so I can use around 95% battery capacity. So far, so good.
The max output current for the MCP1700 is 250mA, and the max input voltage is 6.0V. As the lithium battery never goes above 4.2v, it’s ok for me.
My battery is quite old and tired, and so the 3700mA nominal capacity was irrelevant. To estimate the battery life, I’ve made some measurements. The kit1 has the following current consumption @ 3.0V (*):
Offline mode, backlight off:   36mA
Backlight:                              18mA
Online mode, backlight off: 147mA
Maximum peak current:      170mA
*with the red led desoldered from the ethernet module.

In online mode, with fully charged battery (4.2v) it took ~18 hours to discharge it to 2.9v. Discharging a lithium cell under 2.9v is not recommended, so even if the KIT1 kept working at 2.9V, I stopped the measurement. It then took ~5 hours to fully charge the battery (from an USB port). Based on the above current consumption scenarios and the measured 18 hours, it is fairly safe to estimate 50 hours uptime in offline mode. more than adequate for daily use on the field.


This regulator has a different pinout, then the original 1117. I had to make a tricky implementation, but that worked.

At the moment, the only flaw is, that the KIT1 keeps working even under 2.7V, over-discharging the battery. In the long run this will damage the lithium cell so the firmware should be modified to post a ‘low battery’ message to the screen and standby the unit, if the voltage drops below 2.85V. (We need access to the full source code to implement this)
Also, it would be nice to have a voltage divider on the battery terminals (say 4.2V to 3.0V) and implement a battery voltage monitoring function in the firmware. This way the user can have a feedback about the battery state. There are 2 unused analog pins on the mcu, this shouldn’t be a problem.
filteringThe MCP1700 needs 2 filtering capacitors to work properly. I’ve just replaced the original c3 with 1uf ceramic, the other one (Cout) was soldered on the back side of the pcb
Because the charger module covered some holes of the on / off switch on the pcb, I’ve used a different switch, placed on the right side of my case.

Real PoE

For the stationary unit installed outside, I wanted to have just one single cable (for supply + ethernet). According to wikipedia, the POE standard uses 2 modes: A and B. Unfortunately after some fiddling, I’ve realised that none of these modes are implemented in the hr911105a RJ45 connector, used on the enc28j60 ethernet modules. What a pity! All the 8 pins are galvanically isolated. I needed access to pins 4+5 for dc+, respectively pins 7+8 for dc-
Custom made ethernet cable: on the router end there is an additional USB cable, serving to inject 5V dc. This will be powered from the unused USB port on my router. The other end is just a standard RJ45 connector.

Hacking the rj45

It is possible to open the metal sheet on the connector.
The isolation transformers from rx and tx are clearly visible:
Then I’ve removed some plastic with a red-hot cutter blade, to expose the pins. Cleaning and soldering the wires to the selected pins was relatively easy:
For tapping I’ve removed one of the lateral side tins. After putting some patches of insulating tape to the exposed pins I closed the connector.
The terminal wires (green + white) were soldered to the appropriate INPUT pins (+5v and gnd) on the micro usb charger module. Now i have a real poe module!
Attention: do not solder the +5V cable to the charger module OUTPUT, because it will overcharge the lithium battery! Lithium batteries, if charged beyond 4.3V can explode or catch fire!


This modification doesn’t deal with the two 75 ohm resistors, which kinda “shorts” the usb port. But if you do the math: 2 x 75R = 150R. For 5V / 150R = 33mA extra current consumption for the usb port. The usb port standard specifies at least 500mA / port. The whole device does not absorb more than 200 mA, so I think this is on the safe side.
Regarding the heat production on the two 75 ohm resistors:
0.033A x 5v = 0,166W total. There are 2 resistors, so this is 0.083W / resistor. Even if the resistors will burn out, I do not care, they are useless in this configuration (I think).

Note: using 5V DC with poe is not recommended on long cable runs because when load is applied, the voltage drops quickly. In my case, I needed only 5m of ethernet cable. With the device connected, the 5V dropped to 4.3V. This means, that the charger module will output max 4.0 volts, so the battery will be never charged to 100%. This is not a problem for me, as the router will continuously supply the power. However, for much longer cables, one should consider using an adjustable dc to dc booster between the USB port and ethernet cable (on the router end), to compensate for the voltage drop. With the uradmonitor unit turned on, clip a voltmeter to the charger module input pins, and adjust the booster on the router side, until exactly 5.0v is measured by the voltmeter. This way the voltage is compensated for the respective cable. If you alter the cable length, you have to re-do the adjustment!

Additional sensors – bme280

The v1.1.104 pcb has a nice feature, the extension port. This can accept any module with serial or i2c interface. Although, it is possible to retrofit any older kit with additional sensors – soldering the wires directly to the mcu pins, this breakout port is a more elegant solution. I’ve populated this with a bme280 module. You can buy one here.
These sensors are very high quality and one can obtain a lots of info, with proper code implementation:
– temperature
– pressure
– altitude (uncalibrated)
– relative humidity
– dew point
– heat index (shadow)
– heat index (sunlight)
Attention: during operation the sensor chip is sensitive to light, which can influence the accuracy of the measurement! The position of the vent hole minimizes the light exposure of the sensor chip. Nevertheless, BOSCH recommends avoiding the exposure of BME280 to strong light. Probably it would be a good idea to paint black the sensor area inside the case… I always suspected that nail polish has some utility 🙂
I wrote a small arduino sketch to display all these values, using the SparkFunBME280 library.
Unfortunately, at the time of writing this article, the uradmonitor source code (v117) is not fully open. We have to wait for radhoo to implement this sensor, or much better, to publish the full source code on github.

Case design

For the device to be fully usable outdoors and to have a better visual experience, it needs a case. I’ve designed the case in corel draw x8, made two very similar models, one for wall mounted fix station, one for portable device. Despite my very limited knowledge in Corel, I managed to finish it with quite good results. It was then laser cut from 3mm clear plexiglass.
Since the enc28j60 chip produces a lot of heat, in a closed case this would deteriorate the temperature readings. I’m interested in the REAL outdoor readings. If the temperature value is not correct, all the other values are useless. The humidity calculation formula is also based on temperature. Accordingly, I had to assure a very good ventilation for the sensor:
So, here are lots of ventilation holes on strategic parts of the case. These are circles 1.5mm in diameter – the smallest diameter the laser can cut (?), without melting too much plexi around. I hope the insects will not pass these holes. They will surely try. When winter is coming, a ‘heated’ hotel is very tempting…
As hot air always goes up, the components arrangement is not very fortunate for the sensor, since it is placed exactly above the biggest heat source in the kit1. I decided to mount the whole device upside down to the wall, this way the bme280 will be under the ethernet module. The ventilation holes should produce a chimney effect*, that will take care to transport the air from bottom to top. Theoretically, the sensor will always receive the unheated air from outside, obtaining correct readings. While used as a fixed station, the micro usb port will be out of order. Hence, it will be covered with a cap, to keep the bugs at bay.
I will test this theory when the device will be mounted on the wall, placing an external temperature sensor near the case, and compare the 2 values.
If anyone is interested to build this case, here are the corel draw x8 files: fixed station with bme sensor, portable, without bme sensor.

If you have any additional ideas how to upgrade the case, you are free to modify, but please share here!
I will add new photos when it will be installed in its final place. For high resolution pictures you can visit my album.
Thank you Radu for all the big effort and helpful attitude in this worldwide project!

Thanks for reading,
wanek t.

Air Quality Monitoring over LoraWAN

October 1, 2016 news, technical No comments , , , ,

LoRaWAN is a Low Power Wide Area Network specification intended for wireless communication. The standard provides seamless interoperability of connected objects, without the need for complex installations. End devices can communicate wirelessly with a central server via radio gateways that appear as transparent bridges simply relaying the data.

Picture 1: LoraWAN system diagram

This opens several interesting directions: low power wireless communication, relatively easy infrastructure deployment including high range (up to 15km) radio gateways for good coverage and finally, bandwidths optimised for the low power requirement which are best suited for the remote sensors scenarios. Therefore, LoRaWAN is an excellent connectivity option for smart connected devices.
Picture 2: uRADMonitor A3 with LoraWAN connectivity

Taking advantage of these exciting new wireless technologies, we’ve designed our fourth hardware product with LoRAWAN support. The uRADMonitor A3 is available in several flavours, with the same sensors, but with different connectivity options: Ethernet, Wifi, GSM and LoraWAN. The A3 is an advanced air quality monitoring tool, in a rugged aluminium enclosure, that maps 8 important air parameters with direct impact on our health.
The rich connectivity options provided by uRADMonitor A3, and the inclusion of advanced solutions such as LoraWAN, makes it possible to install the A3 detector virtually anywhere. As a direct result we get environmental monitoring in places that were impossible some time ago, contributing to increasing awareness on pollution, a cleaner environmental and a better quality of life.
Picture 3: uRADMonitor installed in a basement

uRADMonitor model A3 uses the BME680 from Bosch to measure air temperature, barometric pressure, humidity and volatile organic compounds, or VOC. A high quality laser scattering sensor is used to detect the Particulate Matter PM2.5 concentration in air. There is an electrochemical formaldehyde sensor, a nondispersive infrared sensor to measure CO2 concentration in air and a SI29BG Geiger Tube to detect gamma and x-ray ionising radiation. A built in fan assures an active air flow stream across the sensing elements.

Sensor Parameter Minimum value Maximum value
Bosch BME680 Temperature -40 °C +85 °C
Pressure 300 hPa 1100 hPa
Humidity 0% RH 100% RH
VOC 0 mg/m³ 100 mg/m³ reducers
10 mg/m³ oxidizers
Winsen ZH03A PM2.5 0 μg/m³ 1000 μg/m³
Winsen ZE08 Formaldehyde 0 ppm 5 ppm
Winsen MH-Z19B Carbon Dioxide 400 ppm 5000 ppm
SI29BG * γ,x-rays 0.01μSv/h 9999.99μSv/h

To read more on uRADMonitor A3 and the health impact of the measured pollutants, checkout this article.

Picture 4: Multiple LoraWAN uRADMonitor A3 units running

Microchip Romania supported the development of the first uRADMonitor Lora units by facilitating access to the excellent RN2483. Thank you!


September 15, 2016 events, news No comments , , ,

Novi Sad was the recent host of a high density of hackers during the BalCCon2k16 conference, organised by the Linux User Group of Novi Sad with the participation of many international guests. Entitled time is an illusion, the event delivered interesting talks and workshops, and above all the chance to meet the people behind the screens in flesh and bones.
uRADMonitor participated with a workshop, and thanks to the good care of the organisers, this will immediately result in a high number of stations deployed in Serbia, increasing data knowledge and awareness on the invisible harmful factors that can impact our health.
The message we carried was simple: with the current advances in the ITC sector it is easier than ever to design and deploy hardware – devices that can be useful to what we do or to how we live. It was therefore an encouragement to step up the creativity gear for the common benefit.
The conference badges designed by Voja are neat pieces of hardware, equipped with infrared transceivers so they could communicate with each other at the event, synchronising the circular light sequences. They also have an USB connector so can be used as secure hardware password managers to store and inject keys.
This year’s event was great, looking forward for more to come!

uRADMonitor Model A3

August 30, 2016 news, production 6 comments , , , , , ,

uRADMonitor Model A3 is a fixed monitoring station designed to measure a total of 8 important parameters related to pollution and air quality, continuing the environmental monitoring direction that was introduced by the Model D. It was first announced in June 2016, initially being deployed in public transportation, marking our company’s first steps towards the #smartcity sector. The current third hardware iteration comes in a rugged aluminium enclosure with wall mounting support and four connectivity options including one by cable (Ethernet) and three wireless solutions based on WiFi (802.11b/g/n), GSM (2G/3G) and LoRAWAN.


uRADMonitor model A3 uses the BME680 from Bosch to measure air temperature, barometric pressure, humidity and volatile organic compounds, or VOC. A high quality laser scattering sensor is used to detect the Particulate Matter PM2.5 concentration in air. There is an electrochemical formaldehyde sensor, a nondispersive infrared sensor to measure CO2 concentration in air and a SI29BG Geiger Tube to detect gamma and x-ray ionising radiation. A built in fan assures an active air flow stream across the sensing elements.

Sensor Parameter Minimum value Maximum value
Bosch BME680 Temperature -40 °C +85 °C
Pressure 300 hPa 1100 hPa
Humidity 0% RH 100% RH
VOC 0 mg/m³ 100 mg/m³ reducers
10 mg/m³ oxidizers
Winsen ZH03A PM2.5 0 μg/m³ 1000 μg/m³
Winsen ZE08 Formaldehyde 0 ppm 5 ppm
Winsen MH-Z19B Carbon Dioxide 400 ppm 5000 ppm
SI29BG * γ,x-rays 0.01μSv/h 9999.99μSv/h

* Each Model A3 dosimeter is subjected to a final test: the tested device must be in a confidence interval of 5% in comparison to a master. This master is adjusted to a gauged reference Cs-137 emitter.

Health impact

Many of the pollutants measured by Model A3 can have a negative impact on our health, ranging from simple allergies to various cancers. It is therefore imperative to know our environment if we intend to preserve our health. This is not just about a neighbourhood or city, it goes up to global scale thanks to the interconnected network of detectors we are building. The uRADMonitor network generates the big picture on pollution presenting it as a phenomenon. This way we stand a better chance of taking more efficient early measures against the root cause itself.

Picture 1: uRADMonitor fights pollution to improve our health

VOC or volatile organic compounds, are a class of substances that evaporate at room temperature. Being different substances, may be responsible for a broad category of disorders, including respiratory problems, allergic or weakening immunity in children. Some VOC ‘s are responsible for the formation of smog, irritation of eyes, nose and throat, headaches and concentration problems. In extreme circumstances, more severe complications can occur, such as damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system or cancer [1].
Ionizing radiation is harmful to living organisms because it can cause damage to cells that can result in multiple disorders , the most common of which is cancer. Ionizing radiation is naturally occurring from cosmic and terrestrial sources, but there are also artificial generators related to nuclear activities or x-ray devices . Worldwide global average dose is 3.01mSv [2].
Particulate matter PM2.5 refers to small particles with a diameter of up to 2.5 microns. These particles can penetrate deep into the lungs , causing allergies, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases .[3]
Formaldehyde is a toxic colorless gas with a pungent smell, that results from the burning of carbon based materials. It can be found in forest fires, in automobile exhaust and cigarette smoke. It is an allergenic and a known carcinogenic compound that can cause serious health effects, depending on concentration and exposure. Even in tiny quantities just above 0.1ppm it can irritate the eyes and nose, and can worsen asthma symptoms [4].
Carbon dioxide is a gas heavier than air. In small quantities of up to 5000ppm (0.5% ) can cause headaches, lethargy, slowing of intellectual ability, irritability, sleep disturbance. In larger quantities can cause dizziness, loss of sight, hearing or knowledge. The fresh air contains between 360ppm and 410 ppm of CO2. [5]
[1] Volatile Organic Compounds’ Impact on Indoor Air Quality, US Environmental Protection Agency
[2] Radiation Health Effects, US Environmental Protection Agency
[3] Health and Environmental Effects of Particulate Matter (PM), US Environmental Protection Agency
[4] ToxFAQs™ for Formaldehyde, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
[5] Health Risk Evaluation for Carbon Dioxide, US Bureau of land management

Product features

The model A3 is designed as a fixed monitoring station. It comes in 4 variants, with the same sensors but offering different connectivity options: Ethernet, Wifi, GSM/GPRS and LoraWAN. It takes any voltage in the 6V – 28V interval and uses about 1 Watt of power to run. A built in speaker can provide audible notifications, configurable via the dashboard. This unit doesn’t have a screen, it works as a monitor and the data can be viewed remotely on a computer or on a mobile device.

Picture 2: uRADMonitor A3 motherboard front and bottom view

Item Parameter Ratings
Voltage External 6V – 28V
Connectivity 4 options Ethernet, WiFi, GSM, LoRaWAN
Microcontroller Atmega328p 8 bit
Enclosure Rugged aluminium 110x80x24 mm

Getting your own detector

The uRADMonitor project relies on civic attitude at a global level, being supported by a large number of individuals. By purchasing a detector today, you get a high quality dosimeter and at the same time contribute data to this worldwide initiative, supporting the project’s development. To get your unit, click here.

uRADMonitor Model D

August 29, 2016 news, production 3 comments ,

uRADMonitor Model D is the first uRADMonitor unit designed to address air pollution. It features top quality sensors, being able to sense a total of 6 chemical and physical parameters. It is handheld portable detector, in a rugged compact form aluminium enclosure. The initial concept was announced May 2015, and by August 2015 a first Model D prototype has already been produced. The following iterations refined the product, and now the model D features a built in GPS receiver to geotag all readings, an SDCard slot to store all readings offline and a GPS synced real time clock to accurately measure time.

Picture 1: Going for perfection, 5 product iterations


uRADMonitor model D uses the BME680 from Bosch to measure air temperature, barometric pressure, humidity and volatile organic compounds, or VOC. A Sharp photoelectric sensor is used to detect the Particulate Matter PM2.5 concentration in air. A high quality LND712 Geiger Tube Made in the USA allows this dosimeter to detect alpha, beta, gamma and x-ray ionising radiation.

Sensor Parameter Minimum value Maximum value
Bosch BME680 Temperature -40 °C +85 °C
Pressure 300 hPa 1100 hPa
Humidity 0% RH 100% RH
VOC 0 mg/m³ 100 mg/m³ reducers
10 mg/m³ oxidizers
Sharp GP2Y1010AU0F PM2.5 0 μg/m³ 800 μg/m³
LND LND712 * α,β,γ,x-rays 0.005μSv/h 5000.00μSv/h

* Each Model D dosimeter is subjected to a final test: the tested device must be in a confidence interval of 5% in comparison to a master. This master is adjusted to a gauged reference Cs-137 emitter.

Health impact

The purpose of the model D detector and that of the entire uRADMonitor network is to monitor chemical and physical factors that can have a negative impact on our health or on the environment. Using its advanced sensors, the model D monitors against the following potentially hazardous parameters:

Picture 2: Air pollution can shorten our lifespan, this is why we need uRADMonitor

VOC or volatile organic compounds, are a class of substances that evaporate at room temperature. Being different substances, may be responsible for a broad category of disorders, including respiratory problems, allergic or weakening immunity in children. Some VOC ‘s are responsible for the formation of smog, irritation of eyes, nose and throat, headaches and concentration problems. In extreme circumstances, more severe complications can occur, such as damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system or cancer [1].
Ionizing radiation is harmful to living organisms because it can cause damage to cells that can result in multiple disorders , the most common of which is cancer. Ionizing radiation is naturally occurring from cosmic and terrestrial sources, but there are also artificial generators related to nuclear activities or x-ray devices . Worldwide global average dose is 3.01mSv [2].
Particulate matter PM2.5 refers to small particles with a diameter of up to 2.5 microns. These particles can penetrate deep into the lungs , causing allergies, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases [3].
[1] Volatile Organic Compounds’ Impact on Indoor Air Quality, US Environmental Protection Agency
[2] Radiation Health Effects, US Environmental Protection Agency
[3] Health and Environmental Effects of Particulate Matter (PM), US Environmental Protection Agency

Product features

These are mobile units powered by a high capacity Lithium Ion rechargeable battery, with a GPS receiver for location mapping and Wifi connectivity, but also with a SDCard slot to store all readings when WLAN is not available. This not only addresses radioactivity in a similar way to existing top-notch dosimeters, but it also measures the air pollution, contributing with valuable data to the uRADMonitor network. The model D also features an Alarm built in and has a touchscreen to provide visual and audible indications, keeping you informed all the time. Using the uRADMonitor backend infrastructure and model D’s wireless data sharing capabilities, the global readings provide useful data on pollution, its geographical distribution, and evolution in time.

Picture 3: Complex uRADMonitor motherboard front and bottom view

Module Parameter Ratings
Battery Lithium Ion 1500mAh
GPS Channels 50
First fix 27s / 1s
Accuracy 2m
LCD Size 2.4″
Touchscreen resistive
Wifi Protocols 802.11b/g/n
SDCard Type MicroSD SDHC
Microcontroller Atmega2561 8 bit
Real Time Clock GPS synced
Enclosure Rugged aluminium 110x70x24 mm

uRADMonitor Model D Awards

uRADMonitor D has been featured on Digi24 TV. The product caught international attention being one of the ten finalists of the Hackaday Prize 2015 competition in San Francisco. The portable environmental detector, uRADMonitor model D, took the 1st place at the 2015 Arad Innovation Fair and won the 10000 EURO Prize. It was also part of the uRADMonitor indieGogo campaign that ended successfully back in January 2016 for a total of 32000 USD.

Picture 4: 1st Prize medal received at Arad, 2015

uRADMonitor is a project built for the community. We have invested time of our lives to build a tool to serve others. We are grateful for the recognition our work has received, in terms of prizes, grants or community support.

Getting your own detector

The uRADMonitor project relies on civic attitude at a global level, being supported by a large number of individuals. By purchasing a detector today, you get a high quality dosimeter and at the same time contribute data to this worldwide initiative, supporting the project’s development. To get your unit, click here.

The Dashboard

August 29, 2016 news 19 comments , , , ,

The purpose of the Dashboard is to offer an interface to the uRADMonitor system, the global data and the uRADMonitor detectors.

Using the Dashboard, you can see your connected units, add them to your account and manage them further. This includes changing the coordinates of your uRADMonitor unit on the map, either for better privacy or for better accuracy.

The dashboard is also the starting place for instructions on how to use the public API to extract json formatted data. For this, each user is given a user ID, and a secret key. Keep this details private, as they identify your data access across the uRADMonitor network. The API is both for getting global environmental data, but also for injecting data in case you’ve built your own open source detector.

Finally, the dashboard lets you set notifications for when certain measured parameters are reached. It can be parameters related to your own uRADMonitor unit, or any other unit in the network. Set the thresholds and get an instant notification on your phone or via email.

Some of these features were requested by the community, on the uRADMonitor Forum.

Dynamic IDs

August 29, 2016 news 3 comments ,

All the uRADMonitor detectors were designed with a unique hardcoded identifier used to organise the datasets collected. Using this approach we were able to group together measurements collected from any given hardware unit, and display them to the unit owner or on the uRADMonitor frontend, like in this example. We named this identifier a “Device ID”, and those of you running uRADMonitor units are already accustomed to the numeric series starting with 11, 12 (model A) or 51 (KIT1). This technique worked perfectly for quite some time now, but it was difficult to push out firmware updates, as all firmware files had to be customised independently to a given Device ID. We had the same problem when producing the hardware, as each unit had to be flashed with its own firmware file, increasing the complexity of the entire process.

Dynamic IDs

Instead of using hardcoded IDs, the idea of having server allocated dynamic ids quickly emerged. It was presented on the forums, and with valuable community feedback it got shaped into a robust mechanism that can serve an increasing network of detectors. As of recently this mechanism was successfully implemented and future units will use it by default.

The mechanism

The Dynamic IDs work by establishing a two way communication with the uRADMonitor server. On its first transmission, the uRADMonitor detector sends encrypted data, presenting itself with a default ID and a given class. The class identifies the model of the uRADMonitor detector, either a Model A, KIT1, model D or any other uRADMonitor hardware. The server then checks the request, and if valid it allocates a new ID that is sent to the unit as a response. The unit saves the received ID to its non-volatile EEPROM memory, and will use that for any further transmissions.
Unused IDs belonging to units that went offline for a long period of time will expire so that the numbers return to the pool of allocatable IDs.
Finally, one last question remains. How can one identify a local unit if he or she doesn’t know the ID? This problem is solved with the implementation of the Dashboard, a new frontend component that shows all units that share the same IP with the user and allows assigning them to the user’s account for future management regardless of location.

Viva Technology Paris

July 5, 2016 events, news No comments , , ,

Just returned from the Viva Technology Fair in Paris. The event was huge, bringing together an impressive number of startups, investors and companies, driving the innovation spirit to a new scale. It was a place to meet new people, share ideas and get inspired from known speakers kindly offering insight and know how on their steps to success. All in one a truly motivating occasion, emphasising the importance of using our intellectual resources for the global benefit.

Ranging from self driving cars, to exclusive consumer market products, this fair had it all:
Top quality speakers shared success stories to impress and inspire the audience,
Probably the best source of new ideas was the section dedicated to startups, which presented various products on all categories of the event: Automotive tech, Customer Experience, Energy & Environment, Financial Services, Govetech, Health Tech, Hospitality and Tourism, Insurance, Luxury, Media lab, Open transportation, Retail, Sports Gaming and Entertainment, Telco & Connectivity, Urban mobility and services, Urban transformation and Innovation. And this is just a glimpse of what the world currently needs:
Remote presence robots making teams work together despite huge distances, electromechanical fish that swim in water or artificial assistants were impressive to see:

But what is technology without the human component to give it true purpose and value? This was a nice experience complemented by the everlasting beauty of Paris, and the company of good friends.
For uRADMonitor this was an opportunity to better understand the need to serve the Smart City and the Open Office sectors with high quality sensors pinpointing the relevant parameters to human health. That is something we will see more of in the close future, so stay tuned.

Open Innovation

June 24, 2016 events, news No comments , , , ,

The International Conference of Clusters from Northern Transylvania is an annual event in Romania created out of necessity for joint innovative projects, with a major impact on the community. uRADMonitor was invited and we held a presentation in one of the sections of the event.
One of the topics of substantial importance was the “Open Innovation” concept, referring to a new way of putting tech puzzle pieces together to achieve new products and services. Getting closer to the smart city sector, the speakers indicated the need to see cities as playgrounds for various companies including startups, in order to accelerate the innovation process, unlike the traditional directions which are often blocking the incipient sparks.
For what we are concerned, we couldn’t be more content then to find a concept compatible with our direction. The city as a playground is the perfect premise for our new uRADMonitor A3 detectors and our interest in the smartcity sector. Assuring openness in collaboration between various tech entities is certainly an ideal scenario to leverage existing resources to attain maximum performance and an innovative concept itself.
The event ended with a cocktail party in an exclusive location, marking a successful conference and we are all excited to follow up on the trends we identified.

Winner of Innovation Labs 2016

June 3, 2016 events, news 4 comments , , , ,

The 2016 edition of the Innovation Labs competition, organised by Tech lounge and backed up by Orange, Carrefour and the Romanian-American Foundation, ended a few days ago with an impressive ceremony at the National Library of Romania. Code named “the Demo Day”, it was an interesting combination of technical product/prototype demo and live presentations held in front of an audience of hundreds of people, comprising top tech-connected people from Romanian space and abroad.
uRADMonitor competed with the newly developed Model A3 hardware, emphasising its effect on controlling pollution, and improving health and the quality of life.
The jury voted and uRADMonitor won the Innovation Labs 2016 both the Health and Lifestyle category but also the special prize from Orange. We’re grateful for these honourable distinctions, and committed to continuing our mission of developing this network to have a positive impact on the lives of many people.

uRADMonitor Model A3 to map air pollution

June 3, 2016 news, production 43 comments , ,

We planned to extend the uRADMonitor network and go from Radiation monitoring to Air pollution and the first steps towards this goal included the uRADMonitor model D detector, capable of tracking multiple environmental parameters. As a continuation of this effort, we’re pleased to announce a new addition to the family of uRADMonitor detectors. Named A3, this is our forth product continues the radiation monitoring functionality, while adding powerful sensors to map the air quality.

Model A3 sensors

The A3 features a SI29BG (or other small size tube) radiation detector, a laser scattering Particulate matter sensor, an electrochemical formaldehyde sensor, a NDIR CO2 sensor and the BME680 from Bosch.
It is a fixed monitoring unit, and uses a little fan to force an active airflow. It can measure an impressive total of 8 environmental parameters:
– background Gamma Radiation
– PM1.0/2.5/10.0 particulate matter (0 .. 1000ug/m^3)
– formaldehyde (0..5ppm)
– CO2 (0..5000ppm)
– air temperature -40 .. +85C
– air humidity 0 .. 100% RH
– air quality / VOC 0..100mg/m^3 reducing gases and 0..10mg/m^3 oxidising gases
– barometric pressure 300 .. 1100hPa

The enclosure

Following the direction crystallised by the previous products, we’ve opted for a high quality rugged metallic enclosure made of anodised aluminium.
Optional end plates include wall mounting sockets.

The software

For this new model, we’re currently making changes to the way the information is being presented to the end user. The new measurements need more intuitive representation in regards to the air quality: a simple but informative dashboard, presenting an air quality index and the factors that can impact our health

The final product

The A3 has sensors for Gamma radiation, formaldehyde, CO2 (a NDIR sensor), the BME680 from Bosch for tVOC Air quality (+temperature, barometric pressure, air humidity), and a laser scattering sensor for PM2.5 particulate matter (a total of 8 important parameters being monitored). The A3 also comes in 4 variants, with the same sensor but offering different connectivity options: Ethernet, Wifi, GSM/GPRS (data sim must be provided by the user) and LoraWAN.
The data collected by these units will have a signifiant relevance to human health and will help us understand pollution factors in cities, busy streets, offices, production centres and homes, contributing to an improved quality of life.

Shipping the KIT1

May 19, 2016 news, production No comments ,

Preparing to ship at once a large amount of units takes considerable time, mainly because each one needs to be carefully packed with all the accessories and also labeled correctly. Should the uRADMonitor network go for dynamic IDs, things would become a little easier on the logistics side, but for now, each shipping label must be matched to the right device.
With our indieGogo campaign ending successfully, the KIT1 was among the top units sold, so now that the production is complete and QA testing gave the green light, we were able to manage the logistics for a few tens of units.
Luckily we had a few of our production components externalised, and thanks to our top notch partners, we can handle production and logistics at factory level capacity. Here’s how 100 packed and ready-to-go KIT1 units look like:
All these will soon reach the backers, extending the network even further.

Model KIT1 – Production Ready!

April 22, 2016 news, production 7 comments ,

The uRADMonitor network started as a worldwide array of ionising radiation detectors, to deliver comparable radiation readings regardless of location. We’re now using the existing infrastructure to also include air quality measurements (the model D was a first step towards that). The first hardware detector we’ve built was the uRADMonitor model A, a fixed monitoring unit in a rugged aluminium enclosure suitable for outdoors use. During the model A development, we’ve received considerable feedback from users and some of that was shaped into a new hardware product: a unit that keeps the monitoring capabilities of the model A, but adds an LCD screen and a battery connector for mobile use. We offered this as open source, so anyone could build it and join the uRADMonitor project, and named it the KIT1.
The development saw several iterations. The goal was to simplify the development, while expanding the functionality. The high voltage Geiger tube inverter changed from a transformer to a simple inductor and extension pins were added to allow connecting additional peripherals such as sdcards, gps receivers or other sensors. Finally, the forth iteration went into production, and we’ll see them on the market soon.
As said, this device is also offered as open source, and is available on Github. Details on the previous iterations are available at the links below:
2013 – prototype
2015 – kit1.0
2015 – kit1.1
For now, the KIT1 can be ordered on IndieGogo, or by requesting it on the Join-the-network page. In some special cases we can offer KIT1 evaluation units for free.

The software

Important changes were added to the KIT1 firmware as well:

When the unit is switched on, you will see the uRADMonitor logo just before the network interface is being initialized. If the network cable is not connected or you plan to use the KIT1 offline, press the main button.

The main screen shows a time counter in top-left, followed by 4 icons: sound, radiation event, network status, battery level. The second line shows the total dose accumulated and the battery voltage. The central label indicates the radiation dose and estimates the level as LOW, NORMAL, HIGH and DANGER. The last line shows the voltage on tube, the duty cycle and the dose as CPM

If the KIT1 was started in offline mode, the top network icon will show disconnected

Pressing the main button in the main screen, will advance to the next screen. This one is called the Stats screen, and shows the absolute time, total pulses counted, the average CPM since start, the maximum CPM recorded, and at the bottom the detector tube type and the firmware version.

Pressing the main button once again will go to the network screen, where you see the allocated IP, the gateway, the netmask, the server’s IP, the KIT1 ID. The last line shows number of pings received (try it), and the number of good and bad server replies.

The speaker

The beeping sound is active only in the main screen. Leaving the unit in any other screen will mute the speaker. When connected to the network, the sound will be muted by default. To toggle mute on/off, press and hold the main button for at least 3 seconds then release.

The backlight

There is a timeout for the LCD backlight, currently configured to 10 seconds. Press the main button to turn the backlight on.

The watchdog

When used as a monitoring station, most likely the unit will run unattended. There is a watchdog mechanism that automatically reboots the unit in case of any lockdown. This approach is a proven technique that allowed uRADMonitor units to operated unattended for long periods of time, while providing valuable measurements. When connected to the uRADMonitor server (network on), the KIT1 will automatically reboot if during an interval of 10minutes, it receives no acknowledgement from the server.

The alarm

In the event of a high dose being detected (> 1.0uSv/h), the alarm will sound. Press the main button to stop it. Please note that the alarm will restart if the dose has not decreased back to normal levels. The alarm is disabled if the sound is muted.

The extension port

The extension port is a male header exposing 6 pins, namely the 3V, GND, SCL, SDA, TX and RX . It is now possible to add an BME280 / BMP180 to the KIT yourself and collect additional measurements on temperature, barometric pressure and humidity. There are many standard breakout modules available, from all kinds of suppliers, and could potentially use all the sensors that use a UART or I2C connection. Adding a new sensor will require changes in the firmware to make it work.

Cluj Innovation Days

April 4, 2016 events, news No comments , , , ,

Cluj-Napoca emerged as Romania’s Innovation capital, thanks to the high number of universities, students and research programs, but especially due to the initiative of some very responsible people, that understood the need of creating an ascendent trend of development for the entrepreneurial spirit and business opportunities. Part of this positive direction was the Cluj Innovation days, which was held on 31st of March and 1st of April, coagulating business and technical people around the Digital Medicine and Digital Governance topics.
uRADMonitor was invited by Cisco, to demonstrate environmental surveillance over LoRaWAN connectivity. We got there the day before, to prepare the booth and make sure the hardware is all set up. There were attendees from multiple industries, resulting in interesting discussions, and we even had the chance to talk to the Minister of Communications and for IT Society, Mr. Marius Bostan, who provided some useful ideas on the development of the project.
To summarise, this event brought together future development directions with live feedback communing from local authorities and companies. As a direct result, we’ll see several uRADMonitor types of detectors being developed in the months to come, better contributing to the quality of the environment in cities, parks or public transportation. We keep to the initial goal of delivering something useful to the community, something that matters.

uRADMonitor featured by Bosch

March 2, 2016 news 2 comments , ,

The uRADMonitor model D was the first to go beyond detecting only ionising radiation, by adding various air parameters to the list of monitored values. Now a single handheld device contains enough sensory to assert a large interval of environmental parameters and identify pollution factors. One of the air sensors is the BME680: a low size, low power high quality sensor from Bosch, that delivers impressive performance.
Bosch, the known manufacturer behind the BME680 sensor, has recently written an article on the uRADMonitor, presenting some of the key elements of our design:

a device, which would increase the quality of everyone’s environment, at home, at the workplace, everywhere. A device, which would help to increase everyone’s well-being, something that would simply makes our lives better and which would fight air pollution on a global scale

Thanks, Bosch, for the thumbs up and the excellent work you are doing!

Mobile World Congress 2016

February 21, 2016 events, news No comments , ,

We’ve been in Barcelona for an entire week, for the Mobile World Congress. As the MWC is mostly about software, we thought it is a great moment to have our first mobile app ready, even if it is in Alpha phase and only for Android phones.
Get it here, keep in mind it’s an alpha, and feel free to share feedback on the forum.
The MWC was an exciting experience. We had the chance to meet a few of our partners, and discuss new directions to further improve uRADMonitor. Such directions include adding LPWAN based on technologies provided by Lora and Sigfox for remote environmental surveillance units.

First indieGogo funded unit went online

February 16, 2016 news, production No comments , , , ,

There are now three uRADMonitor units running in Poland. The last one went online this month, and even if it’s technically similar to the other two by being a model A unit, it is special because it’s the first indieGogo funded unit to go online, part of the first batch of perks delivered.
Thanks to the great people that supported this project. Here’s how the network takes shape right before our eyes, thanks to your trust in this work.
To access the unit readings and see the measured values of that area in Poland, click here. More units are currently in transit, and will go online soon, part of the campaigns scheduled calendar.

uRADMonitor enters RICAP Academy

February 1, 2016 news No comments , , ,

uRADMonitor was recently selected in the RICAP Academy program that aims to push Romanian Innovation further. Magnasci, the Romanian company behind it, while being still a newcomer on the technology and innovation market, manages production and worldwide recognition in record time with this successful first product. The mission focuses on developing technology to better our lives, unleashing the potential of new hardware/software hybrid applications.
uRADMonitor is a global environmental monitoring network, consisting of several hardware devices capable of measuring various chemical and physical air pollutants, with Internet connectivity to share all data to the central server on . The frontend (web and mobile apps) show data from all places on Earth. By doing so we understand better the pollution factors and what we can do to limit it, to get cleaner environment and better life quality. The infrastructure is a verified , big data platform, that allows connecting new sensors to track more parameters for example for water or soil to complement the existing solution.
Read more on the uRADMonitor entry in the RICAP Academy program here.

The steps to success

December 13, 2015 news No comments ,

One year ago, I concluded the project’s roadmap with a plan. And everything happened, literally: we finally have the startup company and the indieGogo campaign became a reality, exceeding the initial funding goal.
And this is just a tiny bit of everything that happened in 2015. It’s been a really successful year, with so many important events that turned an idea into a successful story.

How did this happen?

There is no fixed recipe nor a specific path to walk. The only thing that stays constant is that state of mind, called will. Will is the only resource that can focus everything around us into a given result. When we truly want something, we get a chance to make it happen. So success becomes a result of strong determination. And to fuel it and keep on going, despite the many obstacles, you can probably think of how short our lives are, and how little time we have to make something that matters. It works for me.

Thank you, stranger!

uRADMonitor started as a tool to make our lives better. It promised to look at the environment and show us factors that can damage our health. We all need that, our bodies are fragile. The motivation to build this system was strong. I wanted to make it happen, and invested a lot of time in it. This is how the project evolved, seeing one hardware design after another. Then there was the extraordinary user community, “strangers” that believed in this idea, and put a lot of trust to help it happen. It is them, this couldn’t have gone this far without, hundreds of daring people, sharing the vision.

We did good, again

It was nice to hit the 100 user landmark at the end of 2014. We managed to raise that to almost 400, and need to keep our systems in great shape, as heavy loads are expected with the network increasing even faster.
First, the project was again in the high ranks of the Hackaday Prize competition, but this time as a Finalist in two categories. I had the chance to hold a speech at the Hackaday Super-conference, and covered the uRADMonitor project as well:

We took the first prize at the Innovation Fair in Arad:
We met great people, got a lot of positive feedback and many encouragements:

On the technical side, we managed to update the server infrastructure to make it big data ready, and data access became faster. Then the uRADMonitor model D was developed, and with this device the entire project shifted towards environmental air quality monitoring.
We’ve seen the first tools created by the community, with the uRADMonitor-X and the many scripts created around the model A’s direct LAN json access.

There are so many things to do next. We’ll have to finalise the server API, to drop the fixed IDs, to create our first mobile apps for Android and iOS, to develop more innovative hardware and track the environment better, to improve uRADMonitor as a service, to address our first B2B customers. As you can see, things are getting more complicated, the plan has increased in complexity. We’ll need a bigger team. But we’ll get there, one step at a time.

Happy new 2016!

Radu Motisan
the one guy that handled all the soldering, the software, and the server 🙂

Model D updates

December 13, 2015 news, production 2 comments , , , ,

Some of the remaining changes for uRADMonitor model D included finalising the firmware and identifying a few better alternatives for the LCD bezel. Should the indieGogo campaign reach it’s stretch goal, we’ll also see a GPS module added to this unit, and an internal antenna for a more compact design.
But getting back to the firmware, one important achievement was increasing the display speed:

A less bulky LCD bezel had to be designed, but this wasn’t an easy process, since several iterations had to be tried out, and the printer pushed to its limits with thin plastic layers:
Finally the results, making model D take maximum advantage of this new iteration:
More work is required on the firmware side, so make sure to follow our progress to see what we bring next.

The Hackaday Prize 2015 Finals

November 20, 2015 events, news 5 comments , , ,

The uRADMonitor model D, or the Portable Environmental Monitor, has entered this year’s Hackaday Prize competition, throwing in a complex hardware design, backed by a matching software infrastructure implemented with thousands of lines of code. What started with a simple hand drawn diagram was followed later by the Beta prototype and finally led to the production unit but not without a very intense creative process, done under a lot of pressure:
The uRADMonitor is a global network of interconnected hardware devices that work as detectors for various chemical or physical pollutants impacting human health. The current detectors can measure air temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, dust concentration, VOC but also Alpha, Beta and Gamma radiation. The latest uRADMonitor model D, uses the BME680 sensor from Bosch to assert air quality. This is an ambitious project that didn’t get intimidated by the difficulty of a global scale solution implementation. In the end, there’s an important goal that keeps it in motion, and that goal is to improve the life of all people on Earth, by increasing the quality of our environment, in homes, work offices or whole cities.

The winners of the 2015 prize awards were to be announced at the Hackaday Superconference which was held in San Francisco, last weekend. I got there on Friday, after a long flight from Budapest. It was absolutelly thrilling to meet all the great people behind the Hackaday articles. I remembered the excitement of having my first project featured on their website. Surely I didn’t forget to take photos with everyone and I also made new friends among the fine people attending the conference, which was a successful event:
The motivation to take part in the Hackaday Prize was to solve a problem a large number of people is facing. uRADMonitor helps by identifying pollution with its array of network connected detectors spread all across the Globe. But to achieve that, progress had to be made to add more features to the new hardware units: portability in terms of a rechargeable lithium battery, a power management system to charge the battery but also invert its voltage to system needs, a separate 500 volt inverter for the Geiger tube, a dust sensor, a Geiger tube and air quality sensors all packed in so little space, wireless connectivity successfully talking with the central server in real time, which required a predefined protocol and more complexity on the software side since it also includes encryption for data security, and finally drivers and real time functionality in software to handle the sensors with good accuracy. All this, almost doubled by server side software, handling big data on the back end, and dynamic charts on the front end, to deliver informative environmental updates for a real time user experience, despite the complexity of the entire system.
The challenges were endless, given the ambitious size of this project: research in sensor physics, design hardware units from scratch, put them into production, develop a robust firmware code (3000 lines of code and counting), configure and develop server side software, capable of supporting big data. Seeing this list of words I can’t believe how simple it sounds, remembering all the challenges along the road: for instance, to meet the Best Product deadline of the Hackaday Competition, I was still uploading code on the three demo units to be shipped, while the shipping company was already knocking on my door, to pickup the package, all this after a few sleepless nights. Also various hidden bugs, both in hardware and software, part of any development process and these were also time consuming. Speaking about time that is a total of almost half a year of continuous work and even more of background research. This came at a cost which sometimes I find too big: working continuously instead of having walks with my daughter and wife, going to sleep only to wake up working again in the morning, not seeing summer’s warm sun as by the time the project was complete it was almost winter. But there is a cost to pay for each endeavour.
A very long chapter is ending, all is now fixed and developed properly, and the final product is finally here, not only ready for production including enclosure design, pcb and assembly, testing, accessories, packaging and shipping, but already deployed worldwide. For a one man, this was a lot to do.
The Hackaday Prize was a fierce competition and uRADMonitor was among the few titles that already had a presence on the market, proving its matureness as an additional one step further over the already complex hardware and software, an important thing in developing a “best product”, an attribute that uRADMonitor project earned not by a title or prize, but the hard way.

Bosch BME680

October 29, 2015 news 11 comments , , ,

The BME680 is an integrated environmental sensor developed specifically for mobile applications and wearables, where size and low power consumption are key requirements (source). Thanks to Bosch Sensortec, several BME680 samples have been provided to assist further development of the uRADMonitor-D project and support the monitor’s air quality assertion. The part of the uRADMonitor-D code handling this new sensor is currently under development , but the first tests have shown promising results:
The gas sensor within the BME680 can detect a broad range of gases to measure indoor air quality for personal well being. Gases that can be detected by the BME680 include: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) from paints (such as formaldehyde), lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, furnishings, office equipment, glues, adhesives and alcohol.
The humidity sensor features a best-in-class response time supporting performance requirements for emerging applications such as context awareness, and high accuracy over a wide temperature range.
The pressure sensor is an absolute barometric pres- sure sensor featuring exceptionally high accuracy and resolution at very low noise.
The integrated temperature sensor has been optimized for very low noise and high resolution. It is primarily used for temperature compensation of the gas, pressure and humidity sensors, and can also be used for estima- ting ambient temperature.
The BME680 comes fully calibrated for all sensor components. Its impressive features make it a great addition to the uRADMonitor-D line of products to improve the performance of the portable environmental monitors even further.

Update: uRADMonitor was featured by Bosch, in an article on their blog, for using the BME680 sensor and implementing a global scale IoT infrastructure to help improve life quality. Read more on

First prize at Arad Innovation Fair 2015

October 21, 2015 events, news 4 comments , , , ,

The Regional Innovation Fair 2015 aims to promote innovative technologies and solutions and brings together business and research professionals allowing you to open new business channels, exchange contacts and discuss potential cooperation in West Region, Romania. uRADMonitor is honoured to take the first prize, and is committed to continue delivering monitoring solutions, to track pollutions and help improve the quality of our environment.
Thank you to the judges for giving us their vote and trust and to ADR Vest, Tehimpuls Timisoara, Innovation Norway and UniCredit Bank for making this event possible.

As a direct result of this competition, uRADMonitor will focus on developing a highly mobile distributed solution, to serve Cities with identifying pollution factors and improve the quality of the environment.

Pollution monitor meets 3d printing

October 10, 2015 news, production No comments , , , , ,

The portable environmental monitor is finalist in both categories of the Hackaday Project, Best Product and the GrandPrize but the development doesn’t stop here. We’ve managed to put together a complex piece of equipment that also has an appealing design. One thing missing was a proper bezel to protect the LCD and to hide the bottom connector. A custom 3D-printed component by Ovidiu, the designer of Lighty, did the trick and now uRadMonitor looks more professional than ever.
The plastic component was first designed in 3D, very much like with the rugged aluminium enclosures. And for part itself, a full metal Delta printer did the rest:

More pictures are available on the uRADMonitor FB page.

Hackaday Prize 2015 Grand Prize Finals

October 5, 2015 news No comments , , , ,

The portable environmental monitor project or the uRADMonitor-D was announced today as one of the 10 finalists of the Hackaday Prize 2015, from a total of almost 1000 initial entries.
With this highly honourable distinction, the uRADMonitor project is committed to continue its mission of tracking health threatening pollutants at global scale. By expanding the monitoring network and increasing the complexity of the hardware and sensors deployed even further, the project will have a positive impact in improving the quality of life on Earth.
Thanks to the board of experts that judged the entries, both for their intense effort and their trust in the good the uRADMonitor brings.

The uRADMonitor is now a finalist both for the Grand Prize, and the Best Product category. The winner will be announced at the Hackaday SuperConference in San Francisco on November 14th and 15th.

uRADMonitor KIT1.1

October 4, 2015 production, technical No comments , , , , ,

The uRADMonitor KIT1.1 is an Open Source Digital Radiation Dosimeter, that can be used both as a portable detector, but also as a monitoring station to upload readings to the uRADMonitor network. It relies on a Geiger tube to detect radiation. This can be build by anyone interested with minimum effort.
Construction details are available on the project’s page, while the PCB files and the firmware source code are also hosted on Github, released under GPL v2. The code is hosted both on Google code and Github, all those interested are welcome to contribute.

uRADMonitor featured on Digi24 TV

September 26, 2015 news 3 comments , , , ,

The portable environmental monitor fights to solve one of mankind’s greatest problem: pollution. As it tries to improve the life of a large number of people, the uRADMonitor model D was featured on TV, and so the Hackaday project was broadcasted to the national audience in Romania.

Air pollution, particularly matter that goes unseen by the human eye, ranks high among the leading causes of chronic illnesses and terminal diseases (source). The Portable Environmental Monitor (uRADMonitor-D) can increase our awareness and help us with our pollution detection capabilities.
With its sensor array and the capabilities to map the measurements to geographic areas, it has the potential to offer an easy overview of the more affected areas, so action can be taken. Read more on the uRADMonitor model D here.

Hackaday Prize 2015 Best product finals

September 22, 2015 news 2 comments , , , , ,

The portable environmental monitor project or the uRADMonitor Model D, had its Finals deadline today, for the Hackaday Prize 2015 Best product category, where it competes with nine other projects for the grand prize. A series of upgrades have been introduced, to meet the competition requirements, but also improve the project forward. These include the hardware changes discussed earlier, and major changes on the firmware level as well. Some of them are covered in the Best Product Finals video:

Model D – Production Ready!

September 19, 2015 news, production 8 comments , , , ,

The portable environmental monitor addresses pollution, the kind that we are unable to see but directly affects our health and can cause life threatening diseases. Airborne toxic chemicals, radioactive dust and radioactive radon are correlated with cases of pulmonary cancer, asthma and heart disease. Since our biological senses can do little to warn us of such possible dangers, we have designed the Portable environmental monitor as a first line detection and warning system. This is not the regular detector: packed with powerful sensors capable of detecting both the chemical and the physical harmful factors, these devices are designed with Internet wireless connectivity to share all readings to the Global uRADMonitor network.
September 2014, almost one year ago, the “production ready” of the Model A series of radiation detectors was announced. Interest was excellent and as a result the uRADMonitor network got were it is today, continuously committed to offering open environmental surveillance data. There was also generous feedback from the community, helping to understand how to shape the next steps better. And some of that we see today, embedded in the new uRADMonitor-D units. Features like built in WiFi connectivity, rechargeable battery, LCD display were all highly wanted. But hardware is just half the story as the many software layers also come to complement the solution, a recent example being the network’s webportal, updated to support all the new features.
The many improvements also include a high quality LND 712 Geiger tube, perfect for detecting alpha, beta and gamma radiation. The new uRADMonitor-D monitors not only ionising radiation, but also air quality to address pollution at a global scale. The new units are portable, meaning they are well suited for field use. There’s a huge 2.4″ color LCD with touchscreen for all user interactions. The wireless connectivity and the built in flash storage can be used to synchronise the readings with the server, when wireless Internet is available. There’s been a long road getting from there to here, and this was possible only thanks to the interest and support manifested by the entire community. This was after all, a crowd project built to serve the interest of us all.
Putting the numbers in the hands of people will directly impact pollution awareness, leading to a more rational attitude in regards to the environment – and as a direct result – improved quality of life. uRADMonitor is just a tiny component of the big plan to get us there.

Getting a unit

To get a uRADMonitor device and join the network, see Join the network. More hi-res photos of the model D production units are available on the FB page or on

[top Air Pollution image credit:]

Server upgrade / Site v4.0

September 13, 2015 news, production 7 comments , , , , , , ,

The complexity of the uRADMonitor system stretches from a multitude of compact hardware detectors capable of sensing the invisible ionising radiation and air quality, to the big data software solutions that can handle the huge amounts of data in real time. With the network spreading at a fast pace, periodic upgrades on the server side are a must, in order to provide a high quality, uninterrupted service.
This uRADMonitor server upgrade improves both the backend and the frontend. While the former brings a more efficient big-data-ready database implementation and RESTFul APIs for robust data access, the latter was shaped in a modern user interface with animated maps and interactive charts. The Backend and the Frontend are hosted on separated servers.

The Backend or

This is a separate server, in charge of the system database and the uRADMonitor RESTful APIs. It’s purpose is to provide input/output real time data operations via a mature API interface. It receives data from the distributed detectors, and provides data to the frontend, mobile apps and other parties, all via API calls. The data is stored in a big-data ready database.
The RESTful API methods are properly organised, and the code can be extended to support additional calls. Currently the following APIs are supported, all using JSON formatted data:
[POST][encrypted data] , used by the uRADMonitor units to upload data
[GET] , used to retrieve the content of the summary table, the complete list of units in the network and their basic parameters
[GET][id] , used to retrieve the list of supported sensors for the specified unit ID
[GET][id]/[sensor]/[timeinterval] , used to retrieve the measurements for the given ID, sensor and time interval.
Here are a few examples, click to see the output:

The Frontend or

This is the visible side of the centralised server system, as it is in charge of generating the webpage showing all radiation and air quality readings. The webpage is a modern implementation using the powerful OpenLayers 3 mapping library. Thanks to JQuery and Dygraphs the data is shown in interactive charts, this time generated on the client side to allow features like local timezone mapping and zooming, highly requested among uRADMonitor users.
The Clusters
Because of the high number of units on the map, close to 300 uRADMonitor units at the time of writing this article, representing all at far zoom out is impossible, due to obvious overlapping. The solution was to group the close units in clusters, automatically, based on the zoom level. The individual units are represented by circles, while the clusters are pentagons. The bigger the pentagons, the more units they are composed of. Clicking a cluster will unveil its comprising units automatically, by zooming the map to that particular location:
Clicking the highlighted big cluster on the Eastern US territory will zoom the map automatically so the comprising units become visible:
The colors are a gradient going from green to red, representing the Equivalent Radiation dose in uSv/h measured by that particular detector for the last 24 hours. For clusters, an average between all units contained is calculated instead, while the same color representation is used. Offline units are shown in black.
Clicking each individual unit opens a popup, where you can see the interactive chart, and can select the other sensors or a different timeframe. The charts support zooming, by selecting a portion of interest on the chart (click and drag).
The chart lines are shown in green while the average is blue. The details show the time the unit joined the network and the last time data was received. The firmware version and the hardware revision versions are also shown. The resolution is set to 10minutes maximum.
The map menu can be used to jump to various geographical areas, while the “Search location” box takes in any address and resolves the location to geographical coordinates, to jump to the specified place.

Next steps

There are a few improvements planned already, such as showing the units in close proximity (list of closest units and distance to them), full screen charts, comparison between various values and stations, and most important, allowing users to manage their own stations by changing location coordinates or setting alarm thresholds (eg. for radiation or air quality readings). Feel free to post a comment for any ideas you’d like to see implemented.

Nominated at CESAwards2015

September 2, 2015 news No comments , ,

uRADMonitor got into the shortlist of nominees for the Central European Startup Awards 2015, for the Best Cloud/Data application category.
The Central European Startup Awards is a unique series of events in the CEE region, launched in 2014 to gather the best of the best from the CEE startup community. This competition covers 10 countries in Europe (Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary) and represents a section of the Global Startup Awards initiative.
For the next phase, each of the 10 countries will provide a national winner. There are 8 categories so this means 8 finalists for all competiting countries. The Grand Finale will take place in October in Vienna. The winners of the Romanian competition will be publicly announced on 9th of September.
We’re honoured to bare this recognition of our efforts, and are looking forward to continue building on what we have started. uRADMonitor is committed to provide a homogenous global solution for environmental monitoring, using distributed hardware. The newest model tracks 7 environmental parameters and has also been recognised internationally in the Hackaday Prize competition, as one of the 10 finalists of the BestProduct category.

uRADMonitor Model D Beta

August 13, 2015 news, production 5 comments , , ,

The uRADMonitor-D, also known as the Portable Environmental Monitor is a powerful handheld unit equipped with advanced sensors to detect and warn against hazardous airborne substances. Three Beta stage prototypes are currently in transit for the Hackaday Headquarters to be part of the Hackaday Prize 2015 competition. Fingers crossed, winning this would boost the uRADMonitor network to a new level of complexity.

The devices are small and compact and can fit the palm of your hand with ease, allowing to take them wherever you’re concerned about the quality of the environmental parameters. The units feature the sensitive LND712 Geiger tube capable of detecting alpha, beta and gamma radiation. Then there’s the MiCZ-VZ-89 sensor to map the CO2 and VOC (Volatile organic compounds) concentrations. A dust sensor will show you how clean the air surrounding you really is, while a temperature and pressure sensor will complement the collected data.


The units have both local connectivity over USB, but can also connect to the internet via Wireless LAN. So you can get rid of the cables if that is what you want. Readings are shown as charts, and there are alarm functions with configurable thresholds for any of the parameters measured. The Video shows an example with radiation. You’ll never be taken by surprise when your health is affected. The Wireless LAN will centralise all data to the uRADMonitor Global Radiation Monitoring network. The USB can be used for local automation systems, but also for sending terminal commands to the unit.

Complete details are presented here. Don’t forget to vote for the project on the Hackaday page!

First uRADMonitor Model D prototype is ready

August 7, 2015 news 3 comments , ,

The first uRADMonitor-D hardware prototype is ready, while the software is still under development.
See the progress and read more details here:

Weather vs Radiation readings

August 4, 2015 research, technical 2 comments , , , ,

I’ve been running uRAD unit #12000003 here in Australia for around 12 months now and the only time I’ve really seen a solid increase in readings is during heavy rain which got me thinking, what other weather conditions affect radiation levels?

To find out I purchased a cheap weather station off  eBay and set about mounting and configuring it.

I mounted the unit on the roof high enough so that it shouldn’t be affected by surrounding houses or two much radiant heat from the tin roof.


Mounted on the roof

Display unit mounted in the lounge room

Display unit mounted in the lounge room

The unit comes with USB out which is connected back to a Windows 7 computer running Weather Display which includes the ability to write to a MySQL database as well as upload to various weather sites around the world.

I have mine configured to write to a MySQL database on my web server every 5 minutes.



To be able to compare these to readings from the uRAD Monitor I wrote a small python script which is on my web server and uses the JSON facility on the unit.

Below is how the data looks when inserted to the MySQL table.

uRAD MySQL table

uRAD MySQL table

The JSON python script and php files for generating the below graphs can be downloaded here. (Username, password and database name will need to be set)


Each graph is a 24 hour period or 288 data points @ 5 minute intervals.





I plan on adding a number of extra sensors (MQ-9, BMP180, DHT22, ML8511) directly next to the uRAD monitor in the near future to allow further data collation and a better overall view of current air quality conditions, once I have found a project box to mount it in I will put together a post with details and code.

uRADMonitor Model D featured on HackADay

July 19, 2015 news 2 comments , , ,

The uRADMonitor-D, racing for this year’s HaD Prize, has been featured on HackADay
Support this project by voting, using the skull button on the project page. You can follow it to stay in touch and receive update notifications

First uRADMonitor unit in Middle East

July 17, 2015 news 2 comments , ,

The temperature levels in Kuwait are high. The highest recorded temperature was 54.4°C (129.92°F), but summer values often reach 50°C (122°F). On the other hand background radiation stays in normal levels, as measured by the first uRADMonitor unit in Middle East that just went online:
The following image shows a quick comparison between various locations. The size of the pentagons illustrate the number of detectors in that particular area. Circles are single detector units. The numbers in the centre of the figures show the dose in uSv/h: