“I have a need to make something useful,” said Kaysi Gutierrez, a 12th grade boarding student who created a working weather station from scratch for campus. “The school offered me the materials, so it was a hard offer to pass up.”
After taking Electronics and Robotics with Troy Lanier last year, Gutierrez wanted to deepen her understanding of electronics. This year she enrolled in his Projects in Science and Technology class. For this independent projects course, she spent fall and winter terms creating a weather station that collects and then sends weather data to the Cloud. The station also takes time-lapse photos and videos from its camera.
Even though Gutierrez is not physically on campus during this period of remote learning, her weather station is still running. Recently, it captured a picture of a double rainbow and images of the moon rising.
Gutierrez produced a number of the station parts in the school’s Product Idea and Realization Lab (PIRL). “I had to 3-D print some objects to weatherproof my station and prepare it for final assembly, and the PIRL is a wonderful place to do that,” Gutierrez said of the school’s makerspace. “I was able to be in and out with the 10 pieces I needed in less than a week!”
She also worked with St. Stephen’s Director of Technology Dan Laws extensively throughout the project for help with how to get a static IP address, how to get the device connected to the Internet and how to power it over an Ethernet cable.
Gutierrez said the most interesting thing she learned while building the station was Raspberry Pi, a mini dual-display desktop computer system. “I became very familiar with the program commands and found it compelling because of how many things you could actually do with your data,” she explained.
“I also think the station's sensors that measure its internal box data are interesting and important,” she added. “Being able to check the temperature and humidity within the box allows a viewer to see if it is overheating or requires maintenance.”