Weather balloons provide great line-of-sight and not only collect data by themselves, but can also relay signals from air quality devices on the ground. Therefore, we have built a software solution that sends convertible digital currency to residents of West Africa for their effort in the labor-intensive process of launching a weather balloon.
The payload consists of an open-source hardware device with a 3D-printed container box. The device communicates over a public LoRaWAN network. The launch costs less than half the cost of radiosondes launched in other countries, and we are designing our future process to handle remote locations.
All the weather data is made available in real-time and stored inexpensively as RAM on the Telos public blockchain. As soon as the smart contract receives a piece of data below 900 millibars (usually about 10 minutes into flight), the digital currency reward is sent to the balloon miner.
We have completed 2 prototype launches in the United States, each reaching over 32,000 feet with a flight time of over 1.5 hours. The second launch successfully completed the digital currency transfer of $15, while the balloon travelled an incredible 20 kilometers from the starting location.
We also successfully set up a LoRaWAN gateway and completed an authentication test in Uyo, Nigeria between the web app server and the hardware device. We were able to send and receive weather data from the blockchain in real time. Because of a tear in the balloon, we lost a bit of helium during the setup process and didn’t have enough lift for the full launch.
We have had support from people within the blockchain community as well as those from academia
This project is inspiring! It provides real benefits that have so far eluded other projects trying to create ongoing weather data for Western Africa. Now, combining so many technologies: blockchain, LoRa radio, 3D printing, SBCs and more, this group is ready to make a real contribution.