As 2015 turns into 2016, it’s time to reflect on Windsond and its role in the world. There are also reflections for Sparv Embedded, the company behind Windsond.
First, I want to direct a big ‘Thank You’ to the customers and others who give valuable input on how you wish to use Windsond and how we can improve the system.
2015 was the year when Windsond started gaining a wider circle of customers. Previously, Windsond customers often had to learn of us by hearsay. During 2015 we visited ISARRA in Oklahoma and we exhibited at MTWE in Brussels. Here we got in contact with a much bigger range of customers and learned more of the market.
Business-wise, this also means a lot for our ability to put more resources into the further development of the system. 2015 has seen incremental updates to the system. Visible improvements include 1 hertz updates, support for eight simultaneous soundings, support for external sensors, on-board logging and some software improvements. In the background, we have improved our manufacturing capability, measurement accuracy etc. Now we have started to enhance Windsond from a basic radiosonde solution to a more versatile and polished system. This work continues into 2016.
The case for affordable and portable weather measurement systems is growing stronger. 2015 is shaping up to be the warmest year on record. Climate change continues to increase the frequency and severity of adverse weather events throughout the world. Right now, several big weather incidents are unfolding around the world.
In the USA, storms, floods, tornadoes and snow storms wreak havoc and kill dozens of people:
In northern England, excessive rains cause record floods and massive damage:
Several countries in South America also experience massive flooding due to a strong El Niño:
With respect to all human tragedy and economic damage, this highlights the pressing need for more pervasive measurements to improve weather forecasts for decision support. It’s our sincere wish to alleviate the suffering caused by sudden weather conditions by designing tools better suited for predicting these conditions. As we deal with the daily tasks of running a company, we must not lose track of this goal.
Understanding and building a relation with our customers is crucial for us. It’s all too easy to develop products that perform well but perform the wrong task.
I (Anders) will go to the 2016 annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) during January 10-14 to meet with customers and learn more about the ongoing research. I will also participate in a Windsond demonstration for schools during the WeatherFest fair on January 10th.
If you will be there too, do let me know!
Quoting the customer:
“With Vaisala, we need to bring a van dedicated to storing and operating the equipment and it takes two persons to use. Windsond can be operated from the trunk of the vehicle we would bring anyway. On our next field campaign, we will only bring Windsond.”
The experiment carried a muon detector. The external sensor interface of Windsond was used to read each measurement and incorporate it into the Windsond data feed to the ground. Windsond also logged all data using the onboard logging option.
We are now back in Sweden after the MTWE exhibition in Brussels. It was three intensive and fun days. We are grateful for the friendly reception we received. We learned a lot and had many interesting discussions.
Now we will start following up on contacts and new technology. If you are waiting for us to get back to you, please have patience as we have a lot of work to do. Naturally, you’re also welcome to shoot us an email!
We’re now in Brussels for the Meterorological Technology World Expo which lasts Tuesday to Thursday. Everything is set up and we’re looking forward to meeting the visitors tomorrow. If you are there, you’re welcome to come by our stand 7080 to say hi and have a free cup of quality coffee!
Windsond is part of a project by the Swedish university KTH to launch a high-altitude balloon and measure muon radiation.
Windsond is attached to the bigger payload to assist with live position tracking and data telemetry, onboard logging and eventual payload recovery. Windsond interfaces with the custom muon sensor by the newly developed external i2c interface.
The launch can be followed live (in Swedish) at this link:
Good luck with the project!
The balloon reached almost 35km and the equipment was successfully recovered by the team.
The University of Maryland, USA, is now carrying out a crowdfunding campaign to get a Windsond system for their research and education. The campaign is very successful even with eight days left. We are naturally very happy and touched to see the enthusiasm and success of the campaign. It will be great to work with the university to give their students hands-on experience with radiosounding and provide data for their research.
Sparv Embedded is proud to announce we have been awarded a 400.000 SEK development grant from Sweden’s innovation agency VINNOVA. Our project was among the few selected from an unusually large amount of applications. Over 700 applications were submitted from small and medium-size Swedish companies.
Our project regards a novel way of using a UAV for weather measurements, where we also applied for a patent. If successful, this will form a new part of the expanding Windsond radiosonde system, to give users more flexibility when performing meteorological soundings of the lower atmosphere.