Windows Azure SQL Database Marketplace
How's this for an innovative use of technology to aid scientific discovery? Researchers at the University
of Southampton recently launched a Windows Phone 7 with a digital camera
60,000 feet into the stratosphere to help study air pollution. According to the
University's blog post,
the objective of the Atmospheric
Research through Robotic Aircraft project is to illustrate how a low-cost
helium high altitude balloon could be used to propel atmospheric monitoring
equipment into the upper atmosphere. In
this case, the balloon contained a Windows Phone 7 handset and camera, which
recorded 1,200 images during flight.
During flight, the phone streamed data to an application built on
Windows Azure. This data was used to
predict the package's landing point.
containing the phone at maximum altitude.
As reported in this
post by Microsoft UK's Steve Lamb, more important than the data collected, the
experiment validated this approach as the cheapest method for launching sensors
into the upper atmosphere to aid in research projects. At approximately £600, this test cost a fraction of the £10,000/hour
it would cost for a fully manned research aircraft. Congrats team!