Citizen Science Projects
World-wide over 3 billion people are at risk of contracting mosquito-borne infectious diseases, such as malaria, dengue, and Zika. A simple recording of a mosquito’s buzz on a cellphone could contribute to a global-scale mosquito tracking map that addresses the public health crisis rapidly spreading across continents with devastating consequences. All that’s required to participate is a cellphone to record and submit the buzz of a mosquito, which means almost anyone from around the world can take part in this work.
Bioengineering Professor Manu Prakash and his students have designed a paper microscope---the Foldscope---that can be assembled easily and inexpensively. The Foldscope beta instrument has been distributed all over the world. There are many kits to choose from, including individual kits and the Basic Classroom Kit which includes twenty (20) Foldscopes. Each Foldscope comes with a cell-phone attachment module, nylon carrying pouch, and a set re-usable of paper and tape slides. The kit costs $35 USD + shipping.
Folding@Home is a distributed computing project. People from throughout the world download and run software to band together to make one of the largest supercomputers in the world to help calculate how proteins fold (or misfold). Every computer that participates brings the project closer to its goals.
Join a citizen science project to investigate how ants work together, without a plan, to explore new areas. Replicate a simple, easy experiment with inexpensive materials that was done in microgravity on the International Space Station. In addition to instructions for running the experiment, this website includes a lesson to help students explore ants and their behavior, ask scientific questions, collect and analyze data, and develop explanations about ant colonies.
Land Talk is a citizen science and environmental history project that collects and presents conversations with observers about changes outdoors over time in places they know well. The observers are usually older people who describe changes in a place they have observed for a long time, at least 20 years. Volunteers submit audio and/or video of their conversation with an observer, along with writing about the themes discussed during the conversation, and photographs or drawings of the changes through time. The goal is to provide an opportunity for conversations between generations, and a chance to learn from observers about changes they have seen.
The Our Voice Initiative empowers community members to drive change in their local environments. Using the Discovery Tool mobile app, these “citizen scientists” document features of their communities that impact their ability to lead healthy lives. They then review their own findings, prioritize areas for change, and mobilize to promote improvements that will support community health.