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Raspberry Pi atmospheric sensor HAT can detect distant explosions

Mar 23, 2018 — by Eric Brown 2,584 views

OSOP’s $179 and up “Raspberry Boom” Raspberry Pi HAT add-on detects infrasound from volcanoes, explosions, and rockets. A $299 and up Shake and Boom HAT adds a seismograph.

Panama-based OSOP, which found Kickstarter success with its Raspberry Shake seismograph add-on board for the Raspberry Pi, has now returned with a Raspberry Boom add-on board and infrasound sensor that detects inaudible sound. The same Kickstarter campaign is also selling a new Raspberry Shake and Boom product that combines the Boom with the seismograph capabilities of the Shake. Both products can tap into OSOPs large citizen science network to detect real-time events around the world.

Raspberry Boom on Raspberry Pi 3 with black infrasonic sensor on top (left) and Raspberry Shake and Boom (prototypes)
(click images to enlarge)

The community-backed Raspberry Boom is a low-frequency atmospheric home monitor that can detect “sonic booms, rocket launches, strong weather patterns, volcanoes erupting, avalanches, meteors, explosions, and even animal calls,” says OSOP. (See the chart below for the full list.)

The Raspberry Boom is equipped with a differential pressure transducer sensor with a straw-like “mechanical filter” that juts out of it that picks up infrasonic vibrations. The data is processed by a HAT board with a 24-bit digitizer that converts the analog signal.


The digitizer can sample infrasound at 100 samples per second with data transmission rates of four packets per second. The device enables detection of sound in the 0.05 Hz to 20 Hz range, which is inaudible to the human ear. It can operate at up to 125 Pascals of infrasonic sound.

Raspberry Boom infrasonic sources
(click images to enlarge)

The Raspberry Boom campaign has soared past its goal to $45K and rising, with four weeks to go. Shipments are due in July.

A $179 package gives you the Boom HAT board and infrasonic sensor, which work with any average sized Raspberry Pi as well as the Raspberry Pi Zero WH — the new version of the Zero W that adds a soldered 40-pin GPIO header. The YouTube video below also suggests that any Zero variant will work.

Raspberry Boom
mobile app

A $219 package adds an acrylic enclosure and an 8GB microSD card loaded with software. An early bird $279 price is still available for a full kit normally priced at $329 that gives you the case and microSD card, as well as a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, a 5V 2.5 power supply, and an Ethernet cable.

There’s also a $299 Shake and Boom board that combines the Raspberry Boom with the Raspberry Shake seismograph circuitry and Vertical Earth motion monitoring sensor with a 4.5Hz “geophone.” A basic Shake and Boom kit costs $339, and the full kit with the RPi 3 is $459.

The Raspberry Boom’s onboard timer can help match detected sound to known events. The device can stream in real-time to the web and an Android-based mobile app.

You can also connect to OSOP’s networked community, which it calls “the largest independent citizen science network of interconnected Earth and atmospheric monitoring devices worldwide.” Any Raspberry Boom user in the network can access the infrasound signals from any other user in real time.

There are no open source hardware claims, but you can download STL/DXF files from and build your own enclosure. You can also write your own software routines that integrate the data into your website.

Demo of Raspberry Boom and Raspberry Shake and Boom

Further information

The Raspberry Boom and Raspberry Shake and Boom are available on Kickstarter through April 21, with shipments due in July, starting at $179 and $299 respectively (see kit pricing farther above). More information may be found on the Raspberry Boom Kickstarter page and OSOP’s community site.

(advertise here)

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