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PocketLab Air

On this page, you'll find step-by-step instructions for using PocketLab Air, in-depth answers to many common PocketLab Air questions, and a 15-minute webinar-style Getting Started video covering everything from connecting PocketLab Air to calibrating the CO2 sensor. If you have additional questions, feedback, or other comments, send us an email at [email protected] 

PocketLab Air Getting Started Video

PocketLab Air Basics

Connecting your PocketLab Air to the PocketLab App

There are three types of PocketLab Apps to connect to your PocketLab Air. 

PocketLab iOS App - iPhone & iPad

PocketLab Web App - Chromebook, Mac, Windows 10, Android phones & tablets

PocketLab Android App - Compatibility coming soon. Use the PocketLab Web App on Android devices. 

PocketLab iOS App

  1.  Download the PocketLab App from the Apple App store

  2. Turn your device’s Bluetooth on in the settings menu. 

  3. Press the button on the PocketLab sensor. The LED will flash alternating red and green. 

  4. If the PocketLab sensor is in close range to your device, the sensor will connect automatically and the LED will flash blue.

  5. When connected, the PocketLab LED will flash every 5 seconds. 

PocketLab Web App

There is no need to download anything to use the PocketLab Web APp. All that is required is a compatible device and a Google Chrome internet browser. 

  1. Turn your device’s Bluetooth on in the settings menu. 

  2. Open a Google Chrome browser and go to thepocketlab.com/app

  3. Click the button that says, “Connect to PocketLab”

  4.  A connection window will appear listing PocketLabs available for Bluetooth connection. 

  5. Press the button on the PocketLab sensor. 

  6. The name of the PocketLab will appear in the connection window. Click on the name of the PocketLab and then click “Pair.” 
    Note: If there are multiple PocketLab’s in the area (like a classroom setting), place your PocketLab as close to your iOS device as possible. Select the PocketLab the highest signal strength. That should be your PocketLab. 

  7. When connected, the PocketLab LED will flash every 5 seconds. 

PocketLab Android App

PocketLab Air currently works with the PocketLab Web App on Android phones and tablets. Use the PocketLab Web App to connect with your PocketLab Air. The native PocketLab Android app works with our other PocketLab sensors but requires an update to be compatible with PocketLab Air. That update is in development and will be released soon. 

Displaying, Recording, and Saving Sensor Data

  1. To record data, press the record button on the graph screen. The current data will clear and the app will record new sensor data. 

  2. To stop the data recording, press the stop button. 

  3. When the data recording has stopped you can scroll through the graph, zoom in and out, and select graph points to view the data values. 

  4.  Zooming in and out: In the iOS zoom in by pinching and zooming with your fingers. On the PocketLab Web App, zoom in by clicking and dragging to highlight a portion of the graph. Double click anywhere to zoom back out. 

  5. After recording, you can save or export the sensor data as a .csv file. Click the “Export” button or the “Share” button in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. On narrow screens in the web app, you may need to click on the “More Options” button (three little dots) to see the “Export” button. 

  6. When you are done reviewing or saving your data, press the “Clear” button to start streaming real-time sensor data again. 

Disconnecting the PocketLab Air from the PocketLab App

  1. To disconnect, press and hold the top button the PocketLab sensor for 5 seconds. The LED indicator will flash red, then stop. 

  2. Exit the PocketLab App

Caring for your PocketLab Air

  1. PocketLab Air is not waterproof. Make sure it protected from rain. 
  2. Avoid dropping PocketLab Air. The sensors are heavy and can break. 

 

Advanced PocketLab Air Features

Sensor Calibration

PocketLab Air sensors are calibrated in the factory, but sensor drift can occur during shipment. If you let the PocketLab Air run for 24 hours or more, it will go through a Station Calibration Procedure for all functions. To calibrate, connect PocketLab Air to the web-app and allow the sensor to run for 24 hours. The PocketLab Air can run on battery or plugged into the USB power.  

CO2 Sensor Calibration

Field Calibration: You can calibrate the CO2 function by connect the PocketLab Air to the PocketLab Web App and exposing it to clean outdoor air for five minutes. Click the graph menu icon on the CO2 graph (three lines) and press the Calibrate option. 

PM and Ozone Sensor Calibration

The PocketLab Team is developing other protocols to calibrate the sensor using local monitoring station data from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other crowdsourced data. We will update the app and send out more information as we develop those new features. 

Ozone sensor readings

The Ozone sensor needs to be calibrated to change the offset so that the absolute numbers are more accurate. That calibration procedure will be released soon. In the meantime, relative changes in Ozone are still accurate. You may notice that the instantaneous Ozone readings jump around a lot. This is common in an electrochemical sensor. For Ozone, it is best to look at average data over time. Give the Ozone sensor 10 minutes to settle, then use the 10-minute average graph, rather than the instantaneous readings

Memory Mode

The default way to use PocketLab Air is to keep in connected to a computer, phone, or another device via Bluetooth and record data to the PocketLab app. For other use cases, you can record up to 30,000 points of data directly to memory on the PocketLab itself, without a Bluetooth connection. This called, “Memory Mode.”

There are two ways to access "Memory Mode."

Memory Mode from the PocketLab Web App

  1. Open the PocketLab App like normal.

  2. Instead of clicking “Connect to PocketLab,” scroll down to the button that says, “Access Memory Mode.”  

  3. Click “Access Memory Mode” and you will be prompted to connect your PocketLab. 

  4. After connecting, you will set up the PocketLab Air to record to memory. You will have options to select the data rate, and sensors to record. 

  5. Your PocketLab Air is now recording to memory. 

  6. To recover the data you have stored to memory, enter “Memory Mode” again using the “Access Memory Mode” button and you’ll see the option to download the recorded data. 

Memory Mode From the iOS App

  1. Connect your PocketLab to the PocketLab iOS app like normal. 

  2. In the upper left corner is a button that looks like a memory chip. Click on that enter “Memory Mode” and set up you’re recording. 

  3. When you want to upload your recorded data, reconnect to the PocketLab iOS app. The app will prompt you to either upload the recorded data, delete the recorded data, or ignore it. 

Memory Mode Tips

  • PocketLab uses a type of memory that requires power to maintain it. If you let the PocketLab’s battery completely drain before uploading your data and save it, you’ll lose the data. 
  • Once the PocketLab Air memory fills with 30,000 points of data it will stop recording. Make sure you think about your data rate before starting your recording. You might not need a very high data rate for your particular use case and if you want to record for a longer period of time, it might be best to use a lower frequency. 
  • You can start a Memory Mode recording from the iOS app and upload it to the PocketLab Web App and vice versa if necessary.


Using CloudLab to Save Data

We are currently in development of cloud software for saving data, sharing it with others, and writing lab reports. You can currently access the Beta of that software through the PocketLab Web App. When saving data, click the Upload to CloudLab option. You’ll be asked to create an account before saving. Keep in mind this is beta software so there could be bugs and your data might not be able to be preserved when we switch to the production version of the software. If you record any important data that you don’t want to lose, we also recommend saving a .csv file of that data as well. 

Currently you can save data to CloudLab in two ways. 1. Save to a timeline. 2. Save to a lab report. 

Saving to a timeline of your data simply saves your data trials to a timeline of recorded data in chronological order. Saving to a lab report allows you to add text, pictures, videos, and more context to your recorded data. Sharing data with other PocketLab users, or requesting crowdsourced data from others is coming later in the year when we implement CloudLab’s “Mission Mode.” 

For more details on the CloudLab Beta, follow this link and click the CloudLab tab. 

Teacher and Student versions of CloudLab will be available this fall. If you want to use CloudLab, we recommend watching the webinar video below. Email [email protected] with questions. 

Mapping Features

The PocketLab App currently has some basic data mapping features using geo-location if you give the app access to location services. On the PocketLab Web App, when you first go to thepocketlab.com/app a prompt asks for your location permissions. If you click “Allow” you’ll be able to access location features. If you click “Deny” you won’t get the mapping features. The prompt only appears the first time you access the site. If you want it to appear again, clear your browsing cache or use an incognito browser to access the site. 

If you are using the iOS app, you’ll need to give the app location services. You can always go back and change those permissions in your device’s settings menu. (Note: the mapping features on iOS will be available in an update released in the next couple of weeks). 

Currently the mapping feature (PocketLab Web App only) pulls in publicly available air quality data from the nearest EPA station and puts it on a map so you can compare your readings. If the map shows a location in the middle of the ocean, the app is not currently able to pull your device’s geo-location. 

On the PocketLab Web App, you can toggle the visualizations of the sensor data from “Graphs” to “Map” using the “Graph Options” button (three lines) for each graph. When visualizing the data on a map, the graph will plot “pins” of the data at your current location. This may become hard to read. We are developing easier to use and read data mapping visualizations. 

Latitude and longitude data will be available in the .csv file of the recorded data if you’ve give the app permission to access the data (PocketLab Web App only, iOS coming soon). 

The PocketLab Air itself does not have a GPS unit. It uses the location data from your connected device for the mapping features. 
 

Sensor Settling Time

Gas and weather sensors need time to settle on ambient conditions. Some events will cause immediate changes in data (breathing on the PocketLab Air will spike the CO2 graph for example), while other, more subtle events, will change more gradually over time. The PocketLab Air gives data in instant readings and as a running, 10 minute average. 

Make sure you give the sensors time to settle on ambient conditions. If you walk from indoors to outdoors, the CO2 readings won’t immediately drop to 400 ppm. It will take a few minutes for the air to circulate in the PocketLab and for the sensors to settle. 

Temperature and settling time

The temperature sensor is different than a digital thermometer or temperature probe in that it is best for measuring ambient conditions over time, not instantaneous readings. Make sure to give the temperature reading time to settle on the ambient temperature of the room. Because the sensor is inside about 6 ounces of plastic, it will take some time for the air temperature inside the PocketLab itself to match the air temperature in the room (especially if it was inside the case, a backpack, etc.). 

Carbon Dioxide Graph

Follow this link for more information. 

Particulate Matter Graph

Follow this link for more information. 

Ozone Graph

Follow this link for more information. 

NGSS Alignment

NGSS Alignment Resource Articles

Click these resource articles below to find detailed help in how to use PocketLab investigations to teach NGSS standards. More articles are coming soon. 

  1. How to teach NGSS MS-PS1-1: Newton's Third Law
  2. How to teach NGSS MS-PS1-2: Newton's First and Second Law
  3. How to teach NGSS MS-PS1-4: Particle Motion and States of Matter
  4. Analyzing and Interpreting Data for NGSS

More alignment articles coming soon. 

NGSS Alignment Guide

NGSS Alignment Guide 1NGSS Alignment Guide 2NGSS Alignment Guide 3

 

CloudLab Science Notebook Beta

Join the beta and give us your feedback

Our new CloudLab Science Notebook software is available as a beta for individual users. Check out the videos and other resources here to learn more. 

Want to sign up? 

Click here to sign up and get started. Give us your feedback below. 

Overview of CloudLab

CloudLab is a platform for collecting and analyzing PocketLab data, creating lab reports, collaborating with others on science investigations, and more. 

Sign up, check it out, and give us your feedback. All you need is PocketLab and a device compatible with our web app (Chromebook, Android, Mac). CloudLab support on iOS and Windows 10 is coming soon.

CloudLab Features Coming Soon 

These features are not currently available in the beta, but they are coming soon. 

  • Teacher and Student Accounts
  • Mission Mode (share experiments globally and ask others to participate)
  • More data analysis tools and visualizaitons.


CloudLab Resources

Check out this summary of the CloudLab features posted by PocketLab superuser, Dr. Richard Born. 

Diagram of a CloudLab Lab Report

CloudLab Hierarchy

 

How to connect your PocketLab and collect data trials in CloudLab


Using a Run Card 
 


Using the Data Analysis Toolkit
 

 

Give us your feedback
CloudLab is still in development, so your feedback will help shape many features of CloudLab. Once you’ve given it a try, fill out this form below:

3D Printing

PocketLab HotRod

The PocketLab HotRod zooms through classic investigations on force and motion. It measures position, velocity, acceleration, rotation, force, magnetism, and more. The brains of the HotRod is a PocketLab Voyager, which means its a genius car. With a Voyager and a HotRod, you can teach nearly every Physical Science NGSS standard. The PocketLab HotRod can be purchased fully printed, in a bundle with a PocketLab Voyager if you don't want to 3D print your own.  
 

What you need to 3D print your own PocketLab HotRod:

  1. 3D Printer File Downloads for PocketLab HotRod.
  2. Order hardware/non 3D printed  parts from PocketLab store or other vendor.
  3. Print your HotRod and follow these assembly instructions.

     
PocketLab HotRod, 7 sensors, 15 functions, including an infrared rangefinder

 

More 3D Printed Kits and Resources

Click here to learn more about 3D printing with PocketLab and to read about our other PocketLab 3D printed kits:

  1. PocketLab Double Pendulum Kit
  2. PocketLab Shake Table
  3. Adjustable Bob Pendulum
VelocityLab

Turn your PocketLab into a Speedometer

With PocketLab's VelocityLab app, you can turn any wheel into a sensor that wirelessly measures position, velocity, and acceleration in real-time. 

 

What is VelocityLab? 

VelocityLab is a seperate app that works with your PocketLab One or PocketLab Voyager. It's similar to the PocketLab app, but used specifically to measure the position, velocity, and acceleration of the PocketLab rolling on a wheel. 

Attaching PocketLab to a cart for using the VelocityLab app

 

Access to the VelocityLab App

Download the iOS VelocityLab app from the app store. To use the VelocityLab web app from a Mac, Chromebook, or Android, go to www.thepocketlab.com/app using your Chrome browser. 

Find some wheels and attach your PocketLab

You can use VelocityLab with anything that rolls. A can of soup works great. Just attach your PocketLab, connect to the VelocityLab app, follow the prompts and you're off to the races. 

Kits

PocketLab Advanced STEM Kit
PocketLab Advanced STEM Kit

The PocketLab Advanced STEM Kit helps you explore velocity, acceleration, position, forces, momentum, magnetism, pressure, energy, and more! The kit includes a cart you can assemble in a few minutes, and other accessories to perform several experiments.

Click here to learn more and to see a complete list of PocketLab Advanced STEM Kit activities. 

STEM Science Fair Kit: Preventing Concussions and Head Injuries + PocketLab One

Preventing Concussions Kit

A science fair kit that is perfect for Middle School or High School science fairs. The kit includes a PocketLab One. With this kit, you can get real data on head injuries from sports activities, accidents, falling, and more. You can try out helmets and other protective headgear and see how well they reduce the forces of impacts. Included along with the PocketLab One is a styrofoam head that you can attach it to, and detailed instructions on how to use PocketLab to collect data and then how to put together an impressive science fair project that tests real-world activities like sports, or common accidents. 

Click here to learn more about the Preventing Concussions Kit.

Scratch 

Use the PocketLab data in your own programs that you code

Use real-time PocketLab data in your own programs that you code in Scratch, the visual programming language from MIT Media Lab. For example, in the video below, the PocketLab user built a program in Scratch that mimics the iris of an eye. The PocketLab Voyager gathers light-intensity data and sends it to the Scratch program. The iris of the eye changes size based on the intensity of the light. For dozens of other Scratch programs that use PocketLab, head to our Scratch - PocketLab lessons page. 


Connecting PocketLab with ScratchX

Step 1: Using a device that is compatible with the PocketLab Web App, open a Chrome browser. Follow this link:  Two browser tabs should automatically open. One for ScratchX and one for the PocketLab Web App. 

NOTE: If two browser tabs don't open automatically, you may need to manually allow Flash to open. Click the button that says, "Not Secure" to the left of the URL bar, then under Flash, click "Allow". See the image below for more details. 

Enable Flash.

Step 2: In the Scratch browser tab, click "I understand continue." In the PocketLab Web App browser tab, connect your PocketLab. 

Step 3: Scratch can now bring real-time sensor data into your custom program. It will only brin in the data that is currently streaming from your PocketLab to the open PocketLab Web App. For example, if you want PocketLab temperature data in your Scratch program, switch the PocketLab graph to "Temperature" in the PocketLab Web App. 

Editing Programs in Scratch

Heat to scratch.mit.edu for more advanced tutorials on learning to code with Scratch. Here are some basics to get you started. 

Scratch basics.

Try it! Build your first PocketLab - Scratch Program

Step 1: In the PocketLab Web App select "Internal Temperature". 

Step 2: Set the PocketLab data rate to 1 pt/second

Step 3: Go to the ScratchX browser window. Add a sprite to the stage. Add the following blocks to the scripts area and snap them together as shown. 

First PocketLab ScratchX Program

Click on the green flag and your sprite will now say the temperature data that is currently being collected by your PocketLab

Instruction manuals

Getting Started Guides and Instruction Manuals

Check out the guides below for helpful tips and quick getting started activities for every sensor in your PocketLab.

Instruction Manual

PocketLab Voyager

PocketLab One

PocketLab Weather

Acceleration

PocketLab Voyager

PocketLab One

 

Gyroscope

PocketLab Voyager

PocketLab One

 

Magnetometer

PocketLab Voyager

PocketLab One

 

VelocityLab

PocketLab Voyager

PocketLab One

 

IR Rangefinder

PocketLab Voyager

   

Tactile Pressure

PocketLab Voyager

   

Temperature

PocketLab Voyager

PocketLab One

PocketLab Weather

Barometric Pressure

PocketLab Voyager

PocketLab One

PocketLab Weather

Light Intensity

PocketLab Voyager

 

PocketLab Weather

Humidity

PocketLab Voyager

 

PocketLab Weather

Dew Point

PocketLab Voyager

 

PocketLab Weather

Make a Wind Spinner

PocketLab Voyager

 

PocketLab Weather

Scratch Programming

PocketLab Voyager

PocketLab One

PocketLab Weather

Combined All PDFs

PocketLab Voyager

PocketLab One

PocketLab Weather

How-to videos

Getting Started with PocketLab

PocketLab on Chromebook, Windows 10, Mac, and Android - Using the PocketLab Web App


Connecting PocketLab to a Windows 10 Device Using the PocketLab Web App

 Using PocketLab Voyager's Rangefinder

Using PocketLab's Accelerometer

Using PocketLab Barometric Pressure Sensor

 

PocketLab Web App: Full Getting Started Video (Recorded from Webinar)


PocketLab Web App Connection Guide

Web App Source Selection Screen Guide

 

PocketLab Web App: Connecting your PocketLab (Recorded from Webinar)

 

PocketLab Web App: The Basic Features of the App (Recorded from Webinar)

 

PocketLab Web App: Recording, reviewing, and analyzing data (Recorded from Webinar)

 

PocketLab Web App: Renaming PocketLab Devices (Recorded from Webinar)