Hey, I'm Oliver.
I'm a senior at MIT, graduating in computer science.
And I'm a first-year graduate student
in mechanical engineering.
We wanted to see what the world looks like from near space.
So technically, space is about 60 miles high,
and our balloon only got 20 miles high.
So our pictures were from near space, not space itself,
but they were still high enough to get
pictures of the earth's curvature
and the blackness of space as a background.
Lots of groups have done high altitude aerial balloon
photography, so pictures of earth and space.
But as far as we know, we are the first group ever
to do it on a budget of $150.
The basic process of doing this involved
a helium-filled weather balloon, a Canon camera,
and a GPS-enabled cell phone.
We had three main problems that we
had to overcome in our launch.
The first problem was, how do we get a camera up high enough.
Two, how do we keep our equipment warm.
And three, how do we find it after it's landed.
There's a program for the cell phone
that enables it to automatically text message its GPS
location every few minutes, and we
used that so that after the device landed,
the cell phone would text message us with its location.
What was also interesting about our project was
we did all of this with very minimal electronic hacking.
There was no soldering required.
There was no extensive knowledge of electronics equipments
We were able to do everything with off the shelf equipment,
just two guys with an idea and items
that we thought would help us accomplish our goal.