October 9, 2014 12:01 pm

Print your own Lumia-powered space Ultrascope. #MakeItHappen

Like many young stargazers, James Parr was ten years old when he first had fantasies of going to space.

Like many young stargazers, James Parr was ten years old when he first had fantasies of going to space.

Thirty years later, the stars have aligned and James is finally realizing his dream. But not as you’d imagine. Working with Microsoft and the biggest names in space exploration, James has created the first ever 3D-printed automated robotic observatory.

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Called Ultrascope, and supporting devices such as the 41-megapixel Lumia 1020, it has the potential to completely reinvent astrophotography, making it possible to capture professional-grade celestial images, right from your back garden, for a fraction of the price of traditional space telescopes.

 

Once 3D-printed and assembled, the Ultrascope stands 1m tall when pointed vertically and 65cm wide at the base.

 

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James, who founded the OSA (Open Space Agency) collective, believes that anyone from amateur astronomers to schoolchildren can get involved.

 

He said: “We’re inspired that we live in an era where consumer technology now allows us to do things that were only exclusively available to professionals just a few years ago. Keen amateur astronomers can now download this design and software, 3D print and assemble their own hardware, which is an amazing development. It opens up opportunities for people who have been gazing at the stars their whole lives, but haven’t, until now, been able to get involved. Powered by Lumia smartphones, our hope is that hundreds of Ultrascopes will be assembled, enabling a large number of people to contribute to new discoveries as they explore the night sky.”

 

 

Juha Alakarhu, Head of Imaging Technologies at Microsoft, said:

“We’ve seen many inspired people create and capture amazing things using the powerful cameras on our smartphones, and looking deep in to space with the Lumia 1020 is a remarkable example of this consumer innovation again. It’s great to see that the efforts of James Parr and the OSA with the Ultrascope, and I look forward to seeing the images as they continue to shape this exciting project. It’s wonderful to think this could be available to the masses in the near future”

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The Ultrascope is currently in Beta testing and 3D plans will be downloadable from the OSA website, which can be 3D printed, laser-cut and assembled in the home. Over the next 12-18 months increasingly sophisticated models will be released, enabling enthusiasts to peer ever deeper into the stars. Microsoft is currently helping OSA to create an application which will enable the Lumia to be connected with the telescope.

You can find out more about our project here and see a full illustration of how the device will work, below.

Follow the conversation using #MakeItHappen.

 

Ultrascope-infographic

 

Updated September 30, 2015 8:50 pm