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In the wake of the Japanese disaster trifecta, I contacted our pal Francesco Fondi, of Wired Italy’s Otaku News and Hobby Media, to make sure he was OK (in Tokyo). He’s fine. He also sent us a link to a piece he’d done on about DIY Geiger counters. It looked interesting, so I asked him to translate:

To follow the level of radioactivity in the Japanese capital, local makers are building DIY Geiger counters. A popular one seems to be the USB Geiger counter kit sold by Strawberry Linux. It’s a Geiger counter based on Geiger–Müller tube (or GM tube) that can be connected to a PC.

A couple of users also started live video streaming of their Geiger counter readings on Ustream (here and here).

For a better picture of the situation, a good source is the Google Map that points out many Geiger counters in Japan (both official and DIY).

DIY Geiger Counters in Japan (Link to Fra original post on Wired Italy)

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Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.



  1. Tony Olsen says:

    Looks like its showing about normal background rads, Denver would be about 65-75 cpm, Chicago, about 30 to 40 cpm.

  2. Brian Lenz says:

    This is cool, but are there any translated pages, Try as I might I cannot read any of them (sorry :))

    1. Dino Segovis says:

      Just open the page in Google Chrome Browser and it will offer to translate it. :) Works great!

  3. Dave Brunker says:

    $250 seems a lot to pay for a kit. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to a fully assembled geiger counter and modify it to send its output to a computer?

    I’ve been keeping track of background radiation (in the hopes of calming radiation fears) on Twitter and

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