If you’re looking for some cool off-the-shelf tools for home-based science, the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (PLOTS) is the place for you.
PLOTS is a group of activists, educators, technologists, and community organizers who want to see people become more aware of, and activist about local issues in their community. To that end, they’ve created some nifty science kits that you can buy to start your own research projects.
Currently available is a ballon and kite kit for making aerial maps and images. In development are a near-infrared camera, a thermal photography kit, a spectrometer, an indoor air quality mapping kit, a kite-balloon hybrid, a balloon telemetry kit, and several other sensors.
More than just a tool shop though, PLOTS is an open community for doing and sharing research. Budding scientists are encouraged to join, talk, co-author papers, and grants, and generally get involved.