We’re making good progress detailing out some of the final aspects of the mechanical engineering and tweaking some elements that didn’t work so well on our last round of field testing.
When will the Beta be available?
We hear you! And we’re close.
As with all hardware, the devil is in the details. We’ve been wading through issues such as the shield over-heating, getting the counter-weight mechanism working (in a way that is adaptable for variations in focal length) refining gearbox ratios and thinking about wear and tear. We’ve discovered that our 3D parts are relatively soft - something that can be resolved by printing in ABS hopefully.
We will publish recommendations on all these things when we release the Beta and BOM (Bill of Materials).
We’ve also been thinking about next steps and what’s best to get you all working on. A number of teams have told us that they want to make this a project over the holiday break, so we are hoping to get something out very soon.
We’ve also been thinking about what can we all be aiming towards as a collective goal.
Streaming images to a Browser
One of the great things about the ULTRASCOPE is its ability to stream images to a browser.
In the pic below, you will see us doing a test where we streamed images to a laptop, which is a big leap in usability than peering through an eye-piece. It also means that anyone in the world with a tablet can see what you’re looking at. Moreover, it allows us to sit in the warm and explore remotely - which is our first goal of the Beta.
The plan (for those up for it) is to eventually enable the control of ‘scopes from anywhere in the world - specifically stacking images from multiple observations - which will allow us to do some awesome citizen science as a community.
A collective goal - a celestial event in early 2015
We want to find a collective goal that we can all aim towards and would love to hear your suggestions on something that we can all make observations of in the New Year.
Ideally we will all be able to look at the same celestial event from around the world and share the feed from multiple locations.
We estimate that it will take most of you approximately a month to print and build the ULTRASCOPE. Some will be faster, but printing and sanding will be a bottleneck and we should set expectations on that.
We’ll keep you posted on what the goal is, but we imagine early March will be around the time that we should aim for.
Improving our Designs
ULTRASCOPE is being released under an Open Hardware license and we encourage you to improve on our initial designs and suggest extended features and functions. We’ve already had suggestions on how to make ULTRASCOPE capable of solar observations bluetooth integration and reflector fabrication.
Thanks to everyone who has already reached out and suggested ideas.
Please keep them coming!
Thanks again for your willingness to be a part of the ULTRASCOPE project and we are looking forward to seeing how you get on when we release the Beta and BOM in a few week’s time.