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Proceedings Paper

Optical sensing systems for primary-level science education
Author(s): Adam Markey; Bernard Tyers; Roderick Shepherd; Aisling K. McEvoy; Brian D. MacCraith; Bakhtiar Mikhak; Carol Strohecker
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Paper Abstract

In the last three years, a number of Irish primary schools have been using LEGO Mindstorms technology in order to investigate the use of project-based learning as an alternative teaching tool. This has involved the use of LEGO bricks combined with standard electronic motors and some commercial sensors (e.g. temperature). In order to develop this project into the area of science education, we have developed a range of miniaturized optical sensors, which are compatible with the LEGO platform. This paper describes two such sensors that have been developed and fabricated for use with the LEGO platform, a collaboration between the MIT Media Lab and the National Centre for Sensor Research. In particular a working oxygen sensor has been designed and fabricated. The principal design features were compatibility with the programmable LEGO platforms and robustness for classroom use. This sensor uses the method of intensity quenching to determine oxygen concentration. In addition, simple color sensors have been produced. The aim of developing such sensors is to familiarize students with the concept of colour detection and to introduce them to the basic principles of spectroscopy. The performance of both sensor types and preliminary classroom results are reported.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 August 2003
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 4876, Opto-Ireland 2002: Optics and Photonics Technologies and Applications, (27 August 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.464221
Show Author Affiliations
Adam Markey, National Ctr. for Sensor Research (Ireland)
Bernard Tyers, National Ctr. for Sensor Research (Ireland)
Roderick Shepherd, National Ctr. for Sensor Research (Ireland)
Aisling K. McEvoy, National Ctr. for Sensor Research (Ireland)
Brian D. MacCraith, National Ctr. for Sensor Research (Ireland)
Bakhtiar Mikhak, Media Lab Europe (Ireland)
MIT Media Lab. (United States)
Carol Strohecker, Media Lab Europe (Ireland)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4876:
Opto-Ireland 2002: Optics and Photonics Technologies and Applications
Vincent Toal; Norman Douglas McMillan; Gerard M. O'Connor; Eon O'Mongain; Austin F. Duke; John F. Donegan; James A. McLaughlin; Brian D. MacCraith; Werner J. Blau, Editor(s)

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