Fukushima Anniversary IMI – International Medcom Response to Fukushima Daichi Event
March 8th, 2013
The Tohoku Earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima Daichi disaster created many challenges for the people of Japan. IMI has been deeply involved in providing assistance and solutions since these events unfolded two years ago. On March 11 2011 all lines on the Medcom phone systems started ringing 24 hours a day. The people of Japan had an urgent need for information that our instruments could provide. We had to make hard decisions rapidly, and our policy was to respond in a humanitarian way. Every instrument we could build would go to Japan, with preference to individuals and groups who would share information. One of the groups that formed during the crisis became Safecast, a nonprofit organization focused on collecting and publishing radiation data. Instruments and technology provided by IMI contributed to Safecast’s 5.5 million radiation readings that are now published on maps viewable by the public.
On the anniversary of this event IMI is releasing two new instruments that were developed in response to the Fukushima event by the Safecast team, supporters and collaborators. The first is called Onyx. Onyx was created for Safecast and Japan by Dr. Andrew “Bunnie” Huang, a world famous expert on electronic hardware and software, and contributor to the burgeoning open source and “make” communities. Bunnie designed some key IMI – Medcom technology into this instrument, and IMI agreed to build it. The first version of the instrument was launched as a Kickstarter project, and has been covered by CNN, Wall Street Journal, Yahoo, and others. It was listed by Kickstarter as one of the Best of Kickstarter 2012. Kickstarter instruments will begin shipping on March 11, and the commercial version of the instrument will be available starting in April. Onyx has features to contribute to the global radiation mapping system created by Safecast with MIT Media Lab and Keio University.
Another powerful tool developed by Safecast’s international team is a device they call bGeigie. The originals contained Medcom Inspector Alert instruments combined with Safecast data collection technology. bGeigie stands for “Bento Box sized Geiger Counter” because the waterproof housing for the instrumentation is about the same size as a Bento lunch box. Various editions of this instrument have contributed the data on the Safecast maps. The latest version, the “Nano,” is being released in kit form for citizen scientists who would like to participate in this expanding project. IMI technology is also integrated into this kit, and IMI is offering it to the public on the behalf of Safecast for an introductory price of $450. Proceeds will benefit Safecast’s mapping infrastructure. The Nano contains a 2 inch pancake geiger mueller tube, an IMI iRover board to power the tube and process the signal, an Arduino processor, microSD card for collected data, data logger, OLED display, satellite GPS receiver, and more. Order here