The Project Picoballoon is an international research project that enables students of all ages to collectively work and develop technologies and methods to research atmospheric behavior and to learn how to cooperate in a large team.
Our goal is to create cutting edge hardware and software, that can improve todays meteorology and science and at the same time teach the next generation of great engineers.
Our team is working on the development of many different kinds of technologies. Here you can read what are the main areas we work in.
Electrical engineering is a key part of our R&D. The electrical engineering team takes care of designing and manufacturing of electrical systems for our hardware.
The main hardware we are developing are our probes. The probes are actual electromechanical payloads tied below the balloon with a tether, collecting, processing, and transmitting data.
Here you can read the full documentation of our Probe Hardware.
We developed a wide range of custom tools for improving the development experience of our electrical engineers.
Here you can read the full documentation of our Custom Tools.
Ground Systems are supporting all of our airborne probes from the ground. These systems can be either communication stations or launch systems.
Here you can read the full documentation of the Ground Systems.
Mechanical engineering covers all the hardware development in our project, which is not electrical. This includes both material engineering of tethers and conformal coatings, but also engineering and testing of the balloons and mechanics of all ground-based devices.
Balloons are the ones carrying the probes around the world. They need to have outstanding mechanical properties to deliver the results we need.
With the new material and mechanical engineers in the project, we had the option to develop our own balloons. We started doing just that. We are currently preparing the first prototypes using our flight simulation.
Here you can read the full documentation of the Balloons.
The tether is holding the balloon together with the probe. Therefore it needs to be very light, durable and resistant to extreme conditions. Our material engineers are working on finding just the right material for this job.
Here you can read the full documentation of the Tether.
Conformal Coating shields the surface of the probe and the balloon from the effects of water, ice and low temperatures.
Here you can read the full documentation of the Conformal Coating.
The Picoballoon Project needs various types of software to run its hardware, perform data processing activities and run public UI websites.
The API team is working on the development of our own REST API, which is used for all the project data processing operations, including probe data processing, flight simulations and ground system support.
The REST API is publicly available at api.picoballoon.org.
Here you can read the full documentation of the REST API.
Our dashboard serves as the main interaction point between our users and the Picoballoon API. It displays all the required data in a compact, clean and undestandable manner.
The dashboard is publicly available at app.picoballoon.org.
Here you can read the full documentation of the Dashboard.
The probe firmware is the software that runs on the probe's processors. It performs various types of activities. First of all, it detects the available power resources provided by the solar panels and uses them accordingly. It also processes the data from the sensors and from the GPS positioning system. It then creates packets out of this data and sends them using the LoRa transceiver onboard the probe.
The probe firmware is currently not publicly available.
The recovery system is a system comprising of the trackable QR codes, the recovery form and a notification service built into the API. The form is very easy to understand and currently supports 8 languages.
The recovery system form is publicly available at rescue.picoballoon.org.
Here you can read the full documentation of the Recovery System.
We are developing our own flight simulation. The simulation can input multiple different types of materials, balloons and gases. It can then use this information along with the launch parameters to calculate the characteristics of the flight and if the balloon can survive the conditions.
In the project Picoballoon, we are open to many kinds of collaborations. You can read who are we looking for below.
Are you a student of engineering, IT, natural sciences or just general studies interested in technologies and teamwork? Then this is the right place for you! We invest a lot of effort in teaching our students new ways skills, both technical and skills from areas like marketing and management. We don't have strictly defined age boundaries but are looking for mainly middle to high school students (or equivalent for up to 20 years of age). The student team is the core of the project. They make the important engineering decisions, do experiments and overall shape our development process.
We are always looking for creating collaborations with new companies NPOs and Government institutions. Our current partners mainly provide us with material resources. That can include money, physical products (compoennts, tools...) and softwate licenses. Some partners also let us use their space for our work. The partners can also help us by connecting us to either students and/or advisors, or by advising us directly.
Advisors are individuals, either hobbyists or professionals that are helping the students to solve specific technical problems. The help can range from simple tips to more extensive help, but the advisors shouldn't do the engineering work for the project, that's the job of the core student team. Sometimes, the advisors are a part of a company, NPO or a government institution that we are partnering with.