Author Archives: admin

Essential Info

There is, and has been, a lot going on — including published papers; grants received; and new development. We’re in the process of updating the details and documentation for all of this. Some of it is already online. Please be patient. We tend to prioritize development over publishing news updates.

Please check out some of the more important things:

  • The BETA of our new web based geo-visualization page here
  • The beta of our pending Android based Datalogger app here.
    This is being updated almost daily as we respond to feedback. Once installed it will auto-update on your phone. Some screens do not have documentation describing their purpose. Offered “as is” at the moment; a full page in the Wiki will be online shortly.
    (Suggestion: send that link to your email you use on your Android phone, then open and click. This saves you from typing.)
  • There is a Google Group for Sensorcast-users and one for Sensorcast-developers. If you are interested please join. Eventually announcements of updates to the blog and wiki will be automatically be sent to one or both of those groups.

WIPAC Publishes 2nd DECO Paper

The DECO team at the Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center (WIPAC) has published a second paper entitled Measurement of camera image sensor depletion thickness with cosmic rays. This paper was accepted by the Journal of Instrumentation. The full text of the paper can be found here. The abstract is below:

Camera image sensors can be used to detect ionizing radiation in addition to optical photons. In particular, cosmic-ray muons are detected as long, straight tracks passing through multiple pixels. The distribution of track lengths can be related to the thickness of the active (depleted) region of the camera image sensor through the known angular distribution of muons at sea level. We use a sample of cosmic-ray muon tracks recorded by the Distributed Electronic Cosmic-ray Observatory to measure the thickness of the depletion region of the camera image sensor in a commercial smart phone, the HTC Wildfire S. The track length distribution prefers a cosmic-ray muon angular distribution over an isotropic distribution. Allowing either distribution, we measure the depletion thickness to be between 13.9~μm and 27.7~μm. The same method can be applied to additional models of image sensor. Once measured, the thickness can be used to convert track length to incident polar angle on a per-event basis. Combined with a determination of the incident azimuthal angle directly from the track orientation in the sensor plane, this enables direction reconstruction of individual cosmic-ray events.

DECO Team at WIPAC Publishes Paper

The DECO team at the Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center (WIPAC) has published a paper entitled Detecting particles with cell phones: the Distributed Electronic Cosmic-ray Observatory and is presenting at International Cosmic Ray Conference (ICRC) at The Hague, Netherlands on August 6, 2015 (webpage). The full paper can be found here. The abstract is below:

In 2014 the number of active cell phones worldwide for the first time surpassed the number of humans. Cell phone camera quality and onboard processing power (both CPU and GPU) continue to improve rapidly. In addition to their primary purpose of detecting photons, camera image sensors on cell phones and other ubiquitous devices such as tablets, laptops and digital cameras can detect ionizing radiation produced by cosmic rays and radioactive decays. While cosmic rays have long been understood and characterized as a nuisance in astronomical cameras, they can also be identified as a signal in idle camera image sensors. We present the Distributed Electronic Cosmic-ray Observatory (DECO), a platform for outreach and education as well as for citizen science. Consisting of an app and associated database and web site, DECO harnesses the power of distributed camera image sensors for cosmic-ray detection.

GSW is Renamed to

We’ve been looking for a simple name for some time that is more concise than Global Sensor Web. To this end we’ve settled on Old links should work for continue to work for some time and redirect to The links for the API, data collection and query server are already converted over.

Coming Soon…

See our presentation (Android & Cosmic-Rays) at the LA SoCal Code, October 15 & 16 at USC.