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Color probes are great for monitoring slowly changing events like algae blooms or leaf death. They can also be used to determine light absorption by looking at the light that shines through an obstacle such a leaf or water. Obviously they are good for general robotics too.

However, color probes have two major problems. The first being they are complex devices to get working. They don't just spit out R,G,B values in a nice formatted asynchronous serial transmitted string; That data has to be derived using complex signal processing.

The second problem is that a color probe has no housing. You can't simply use it in the field without it somehow being protected, yet still be able to receive unobstructed light. Simply having a color probe exposed to the moisture in the air will make it unreliable.

Although it wasn't easy to do, the Atlas Scientific ENV-RGB provides the embedded systems engineer with both formatted data and a rugged housing, enabling color detection in virtually any environment.

• R,G,B and light intensity sensor
• R,G,B data is in true 8-bit RGB format from 0-255
• light intensity is output in lux (lx)
• lx given for R ,G and B as well as full spectrum lx
• RGB color data and lx can be output simultaneously
• lx range from 0- 3,235 lux
• Light saturation indicator if lx is over 3,235
• Three different output modes:
   • RGB only
   • Lx only
   • RGB and lx
• Data output is a single comma separated string
• Simple asynchronous serial connectivity (voltage swing 0-VCC)
• Harsh environment ready
• Food Safe
• Water proof
• Dust proof
• Ice/sleet tolerant
• Non reactive to salt water
• Probe will sink when submerged
• IP 68
• Wide operating temperature range: -40 Celsius to +85 Celsius
• Simple instruction set consisting of only 5 commands
• Reading time: 1,200ms
• Wide operating voltage range: 3.1V to 5.5V
• Shock resistant to 16 mega Pascals
  (2,339 pounds per square inch)
• Dimensions 12mm X 35mm (1/2" X 1.4")

Color Detector Probe
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