All of the freshmen at the Colorado School of Mines take a course called EPICS. During the Fall of 2002 all 350 freshmen worked on designing of an inexpensive seismic system. They worked in 70 groups of 5 for this effort, which is sponsored by the IRIS Consortium Education and Outreach Committee. Because the goal was to design an inexpensive instrument (less than $150) specifications were less strict than for a professional instrument. Items that could be sacrificed included linearity and single-axis sensitivity. The $150 limit (exclusive of a PC) was established to make this instrument a potential candidate for the GLOBE program, an educational program with international scope and many collaborators that is currently focused on weather, atmosphere, and biology issues.
The students were encouraged to join mailing lists, such as the Public Seismic Network (PSN) list, to get information and advice for their projects. The PSN group collectively has a wealth of experience that they could benefit from.
Student Reports: See the Winning Designs!
Post Story of December 5, 2002 (This link is broken now.)
Golden Transcript Story of December 11, 2002
(Note that Dr. Knecht is misidentified as John Lahr!)