This is an attempt to build a small, lightweight, cheap, diy spectrometer. This was a part of the MINT Girls Regensburg project in 2015 [1]. The spectrometer was designed to work on a Watterott StarterKit Roboter V2 [2]. The robot can connected to a PC via bluetooth. A Python program can be used to remotely control the robot and spectrometer. All required .stl-files and source code is published under the MIT license on Github [3]. The page about the TSL1402R on Arduino Playground [4] was used as an inspiration. The spectrometer itself (without Arduino) can be build for less than 40 €.
Spectrometer mounted to robot
Spectrometer mounted to robot

List of required parts

  • 1x Black drinking straw
  • black tape
  • 3D Printer (e.g. black PLA)
  • printable parts (.stl files)
  • 4x M2,5 x 5mm screws + nuts
  • 4x M2,5 x 10mm screws + nuts
  • 2x M4 x 40mm screws + nuts
  • 1x TSL1402R
  • 4x white LEDs
  • 1x perfboard
  • wires, pin cables, hit shrink tube, etc
  • 1x Arduino
  • 1x diffraction grating 1000 lines / mm (cheap source [5])
  • 1x 2N7000 MOSFET


TSL1402R on perfboard
TSL1402R on perfboard
Cut out a 30 x 11 mm piece from the perfboard. Solder the TSL1402R onto it and drill to holes into the corners. The holes should be 25 mm apart. The corners will be used to screw the perfboard onto the angled chip holder. Solder cables to the TSL1402R like shown in Figure 9 of the datasheet [6] (serial connection). Basically connect pin 13 to 10 and 4 to 8. Then connect the cables to the arduino.
Description Arduino TSL1402R
 Supply voltage +5V  +5V Pin  Pin 1 (VDD)
 Ground  Ground  Pins 5 (GND) and 12 (GND)
 Signal in  Pin 6  Pin 2 (SI1)
 Clock  Pin 2  Pin 3 (CLK)
 Analog out  Pin A3  Pins 4 (AO1) and 8 (AO2)
The white LEDs can be turned on and off with a 2N7000. Connect Pin 7 of the Arduino with the Gate of the 2N7000. The four (parallel) LEDs can be connected to the same voltage source as the Arduino. Make sure to place a fitting resistor between the source and LEDs.


All required parts for the case can be 3D printed, preferably in black. Additionally you need a (black) drinking straw and (black) tape. After printing all parts, screw the perfboard onto the chip mount, and fixate the chip mount into the bottom of the case. The position of the chip mount can be adjusted to the left and right. Cut a small rectangular piece from the optical grating and glue (?) it into the grating mount. One screw holds the grating mount to the front panel, the second screw allows for a few degrees of rotation in order to align the grating to the TSL1402R. Use the 2 screw holes at the bottom of the front panel to fasten it to the bottom of the case. Use tape to fix the black drinking straw to the front panel. Make sure that the straw is well aligned with the forward facing opening.
Spectrometer assembly
Spectrometer assembly
Additionally you can glue 4 white LEDs into the holes at both sides of the front panel. Make sure that they focus on a point beyond the drinking straw. Use a bright light source at the end of the straw to align the TSL1402R and the diffraction grating. After you're finished with the alignment use the two M4 screw to fixate the case cover. Black tape can be used to seal all slits.


Write the RoboterRemoteControl software into your Arduino. If necessary change the pin layout in the configuration section at the beginning of the file. The Python3 program qtMissionControl can be used to obtain and print simple readouts from the spectrometer. It requires the libraries PyQt4, numpy and matplotlib. The serial port and baudrate have to be set in line 10 and 11 of the source code.


[1] [2] [3] [4] [5],p_872_1485.html [6]


Here are some results for comparison. The images are not calibrated to wavelength (yet).

Light sources

result white LED
result white LED
result red LED
result red LED
result blue LED
result blue LED
result neon lamp
result neon lamp

Reflected spectra

yellow object
yellow object
green object
green object
blue object
blue object


Emma, Franziska, Sven
Here is a small python program a friend and I wrote to map and visualize the structure of websites. It is licensed with the BSD license. The programs opens all links in the start address and recursivly searches through all following links. The crawling process may take a long time for more than 1 or 2 recursions. This may cause a lot of traffic for a website, therefore please contact the site's admin before you run the program. Download: It creates a text file which can be visualized by graphviz. The result may look like this or with 2 recursions like this. The program requires Python 2.7, urllib2 and BeautifulSoup. Usage:
$ python(.exe) [parameters]
The required parameters are: -f [path to result file] -r [number of recursions] -n ["title"|"url"] (map site titles or URls) -u [url to map] Create a visualization with graphviz:
$ dot -Tsvg result.txt -o sitemap.svg
I created this image from two photos taken by Mariner 10 in 1975. They seem to be taken with a UV filter. All Mariner 10 images are accessible here: As those images are created by NASA, they are in public domain. Sadly I do not remember which frames exactly I used.
Venus in UV light
Venus in UV light - CC-BY-SA
by-sa While trying to decipher the image file format, I stumbled upon a fine program, written by Piotr Masek, to view Mariner images: With his "Mariner 10 Image Browser and Reconstructor" you can easily browse through the mve files and save them as .bmp files. The frames mve_004.011 to mve_004.031 cover venus with a very high resolution and as a project for the future I want to create a panorama view with them. Update: I created an enhanced version of the image:
Venus in UV light
Venus in UV light, enhanced image - CC-BY-SA
I already tried to use the GPS of my Ericsson F5521gw in my Lenovo L520 a couple of month ago with Ubuntu 12.04 (precise), however it didn't work out of the box. As the release of 14.04 (trusty) was close, I decided to wait. However it didn't work with trusty either. Therefore I decided to dig into the problem. I came up with the following dirty workaround: First run

$ sudo apt-get install gpsd gpsd-clients wvdial

Edit the /etc/wvdial.conf to look like this:

[Dialer Defaults] New PPPD = yes Stupid Mode = 1 Modem Type = USB Modem

[Dialer gps] Modem = /dev/ttyACM2 Init1 = AT*E2GPSCTL=1,5,1 Init2 = AT*E2GPSNPD

Now we can begin to start gpsd. First establish a connection to your mobile provider with the network manager (upper right corner in Unity). Then create a pipe somewhere and use wvdial to setup the GPS:

$ mkfifo /root/gps_pipe

$ wvdial gps

The GPS should now transmit data on /dev/ttyACM2. You can have a look at it with "$ cat /dev/ttyACM2". Stuff the output into the pipe and start gpsd in read only mode:

$ cat /dev/ttyACM2 > /root/gps_pipe

$ gpsd -n -N -D4 -b /root/gps_pipe

If cat stops, just restart cat. If gpsd throws an error, restart it as well. It should work after a couple of attempts. If there is any better solution, you're welcome to contact me. [Update] Fix for the cat error: run gpsd with a user that has no write rights on the pipe. I created a pipe in tmp as root

$ mkfifo /tmp/gps_pipe

The pipe should have only read rights for others. Then I can execute gpsd as a normal user and cat does not stop:

$ gpsd -n -N -D4 -b /root/gps_pipe

I used the following ressources: [1] [2] [3] [4]