Recorded Seminar: "Why My Boss Pays for My Toys: Hacking Consumer Electronics for Environmental Sensing"

March 21, 2016

Presented by Dr. Ir. Rolf Hut  

Scientist, Tinkerer, Geek
Water Management, Civil Engineering and Geosciences
Delft University of Technology - Netherlands


Presentation Abstract:
Using a Wiimote to measure water levels, or a bluetooth dongle to measure soil moisture — 
I’ve made a career of using off-the-shelf consumer electronics to measure the environment. 
Or, actually, I’ve accidentally stumbled into that career. I was doing a rather mathematical PhD when one day during daily procrastination I saw Johnny Lee hack his Wiimote and I thought: “I bet I can do that too!” That single moment changed my career. From that moment on, people started calling me the “MacGyver of geoscience.” In this seminar I will talk about my career since that Wiimotemoment: Pringles-wifi-cantennas to measure Wifi, making waders smart with temperature sensors and smart phones. I’ll also describe my outreach activities: Making prototype acoustic disdrometers (rain gauges) with over 1,500 primary school kids and even escaping from Alcatraz — for science!

About the Presenter:
Rolf Hut received his BS and MS in Physics and his PhD in Water Resources Engineering at Delft University of Technology. The title of his PhD is "New Observational Tools and Datasources for Hydrology. Hydrological data Unlocked by Tinkering”. After his PhD Rolf continued to work at Delft University of Technology, where his research interests include making low cost sensors for environmental sensing by using economies of scale achieved in consumer electronics and using online open datasources to better understand the water system. He is involved in the eWaterCycle project which build a real time high resolution global hydrological forecasting system, see for a beta. Next to his academic work, Rolf writes a monthly column on technology project you can do at home in Dutch national newspaper “De Volkskrant” and recently escaped from Alcatraz. See for more information.

To view this seminar's full flyer click here (PDF).