The Power of Light: A Sensor Journalism Proposal

This week, I was very interested to learn about the different sensors that are available, and their potential for journalism. While they are definitely much less flashy than the other technology we’ve learned about, they’re much more versatile and have a lower entry point as far as price and accessibility. Sensors seem like a technology that can be used by professional journalists and citizen-journalists alike.

The sensor-powered story I came up with is examining the effect of ambient light on a person’s mental and physical well-being. As technology has become more prominent, people spend more time indoors and away from natural light. I think that the lack of natural light must have some effect on a person’s health. This story could examine how beneficial it is to people to be outside in natural light or exposed to ambient light, using a variety of sensors on different subjects in varying environments of light exposure.

To measure light, I could use an ambient light sensor: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/8688 and a UV sensor: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/12705. These would give me the amount of natural and ambient light in each environment.

I could then use sensors that measure biomedical device and brainwaves, like the below, to measure physical effects:

Biomedical sensor pads: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/12969

Muscle sensor: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/13723

Pulse sensor: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11574

Mindwave mobile: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/12805

These, and potentially other sensors, would measure each subject’s physical and mental health. The biomedical sensors, muscle and pulse sensors would measure the physical health, and the Mindwave mobile measures brain waves. These results would need to be analyzed by a medical professional to determine the effects of light exposure on each subject. These same experts could provide an analysis of the long-term effects of being exposed to different levels of natural light.

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