Saturday, October 24, 2009

Air Sampler

Hairs and spines - Check! Way too many legs - Check!

Do you ever wonder what is in the air you breathe? Or maybe you have hay fever and want to know what kind of pollen makes you sneeze in spring? Questions like that prompted me to build a simple device for capturing airborne particles so they can later be examined under a microscope.

Before you take your next breath, here is an important piece of advice: DON'T!

It turns out that the air is full of pollen, dust, spores, artificial fibers, and some things that definitely do not belong there such as pieces of decomposing vegetation, tiny insect body parts, and moth poop. (OK, the moth poop bit was an exaggeration; it could have been butterfly poop.) That is the air outdoors. Indoors it gets much worse. Don't ask.

If you are still reading, you are either very brave, or something is seriously wrong with you. Whatever the reason, if you are interested you can check details for the air sampler project below. Make sure to view some pictures of the "catch" too.

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