[Noisebridge-discuss] Spectral Response Curves

StCredZero stcredzero at gmail.com
Mon Nov 11 22:32:52 UTC 2013

On Mon, Nov 11, 2013 at 2:03 PM, Andy Isaacson <adi at hexapodia.org> wrote:

> Why do you think that the DIY spectrometer would be inaccurate?  It
> seems pretty well suited to your requirements.

The DIY spectrometer would be accurate enough to detect ~470nm blue light.
It would also be able to crudely validate a "synthetic detector." However,
for the purposes of providing as much information to users as possible, it
would be best to provide accurate graphs of spectral response. Also, put
yourself in my shoes. What if someone asks me if I know what the spectral
response of the app is, and I have to answer, "Umm, I don't really know."
Or just as bad, I tell them, "Well, here's a kind of crude graph that I
made with a DIY spectrometer, using the mercury emission peaks as a
frequency benchmark, but the measurement bands are kind of wide..."

Also, I've posted elsewhere about this idea, and there are knee-jerk eejits
who start spouting dogma about how it's "impossible to do
this...physics...you need a bandpass filter...you don't understand the
physics!" This can be especially excruciating, when they've also just told
you that a digital camera is basically implemented with bandpass filters
for each color channel, so they're basically half-contradicting themselves
while revealing that they weren't really reading/listening to the proposal
carefully in the first place.

For both of those situations, it would be far better to just be able to
present the parties that need it an accurately measured spectral response
graph. I can attempt to do this myself, but I think it behooves me to seek
help and others with access to better instruments and more experience with
these kinds of measurements. I also have a moral obligation to ensure the
quality of an app that can possibly impact someone's health.

The point of this exercise is to enable people to just pull out a
smartphone and have instant access to a reliable instrument. This will make
it much more likely that people will post accurate reviews about low blue
light products and everyone will benefit. To enable this, users need a
clear signal that gives them confidence about the instrument's accuracy.
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