Public Lab Research note

Press Release: Public Lab Launches a Kickstarter for the Infrared Photography Project

by Shannon | May 22, 2013 12:02 22 May 12:02 | #7815 | #7815


Public Lab Launches a Kickstarter for the Infrared Photography Project Public Lab uses Kickstarter to kick-off a new community of practitioners interested in infrared photography.

NEW ORLEANS, LA-- The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (Public Lab) has launched a Kickstarter campaign to introduce a new civic science tool: Infragram: the Infrared Photography Project. The Infragram camera, which starts at $35, is a simple infrared webcam that can be used to measure plant health--one-twentieth the cost of normally priced consumer infrared cameras.

Originally developed to monitor wetlands damages in the wake of the BP oil disaster, the Infragram's easy to use and modify open-source hardware and software make it a useful tool for home gardeners, hikers, makers, farmers, amateur scientists, teachers, artists, and anyone curious about the secret lives of plants. There will be three different versions available during the Kickstarter campaign: a $10 DIY filter pack, a $35 webcam version, and a $95 standalone point-and-shoot model. Public Laboratory will also be hosting an open online archive where Infragram users can post, share and analyze their images.

To help Public Lab advance the campaign and build a dedicated group of supporters, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is providing matching donations. Matching support is structured to encourage more backers to help Public Lab continue to grow their community of supporters. Knight Foundation will award: $2,500 when the project achieves 250 backers, $5,000 at 500 backers and $10,000 at 1,000 backers. Knight's contributions will be made as a direct grant to Public Lab.

"We're excited that Public Laboratory is developing a low-cost infrared camera which will help us track the success of wetland restoration projects in the Gulf Region--as well as help us track pollution. The Gulf Restoration Network has been using the aerial monitoring techniques that Public Lab developed, so having the infrared camera available to put on the balloon and kite rig will only expand the applications of that technology as well as add value to airplane monitoring flights that help us watchdog the oil industry in the Gulf." -- Scott Eustis, M.S., Gulf Restoration Network

Just as photography was instrumental to the rise of credible print journalism, inexpensive, open-source data-collection technologies democratize and improve reporting about environmental impacts. Infragram allows regular folks to monitor their environment through verifiable, quantifiable, citizen-generated data. The Infragram Kickstarter comes on the heels of a successful 2012 Kickstarter campaign that launched the Public Lab DIY Spectrometry Kit into wide popularity and has opened up the possibility of people using low-cost spectrometers to identify environmental contaminants.

"Infragram comes from Infrared Photogrammetry, the use of photography to create spacialized and quantified data. When NASA started using this technique on the Landsat satellites in the 1970's and 80's, each camera was custom-built for the purpose. Now, consumer cameras are so advanced that even a five year old point and shoot can generate excellent data with nothing more than a change of the filters and calibration through the Infragram site (" -- Mathew Lippincott, Public Lab

Additional information on the Infragram Kickstarter can be found at:

About the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (Public Lab) is a community which develops and applies open-source tools to environmental exploration and investigation. By democratizing inexpensive and accessible "Do-It-Yourself" techniques, Public Laboratory creates a collaborative network of practitioners who actively re-imagine the human relationship with the environment.

The core Public Lab program is focused on "civic science" in which we research open source hardware and software tools and methods to generate knowledge and share data about community environmental health. Our goal is to increase the ability of underserved communities to identify, redress, remediate, and create awareness and accountability around environmental concerns. Public Lab achieves this by providing online and offline training, education and support, and by focusing on locally relevant outcomes that emphasize human capacity and understanding. For more information, please visit

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit

Contacts Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science: Shannon Dosemagen; phone: 504.239.4642; email:

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation: Andrew Sherry, Vice President/Communications, Knight Foundation (305) 908-2677,

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