The apparent theft of a weather pod has sparked La Trobe University Technology Innovation Lab head Dr Simon Egerton's curiosity.
Will the sensor suddenly stop transmitting data once those responsible read this story? Will the conditions it's been tracking for more than a month suddenly change?
It's not ideal, but the situation is testing the technology - and the pod is proving to be robust.
A ROGUE weather sensor is providing researchers with unexpected opportunities, more than a month after its disappearance.
The pod, which is part of Bendigo's Clever Weather network, went missing in December.
And it's still transmitting data.
La Trobe University Technology Innovation Lab head, Dr Simon Egerton, is certain of two things: the missing pod is still in Bendigo, and it is somewhere sheltered.
A weather pod in the Bendigo CBD recorded 83 per cent humidity about 3pm today. Meanwhile, the rogue sensor was transmitting 55 per cent humidity.
"So it's definitely indoors somewhere," Dr Egerton said.
The pod's transmissions belie both the date and time of the suspected theft. They even give a snapshot of the temperature of wherever it is being stored.
"It's being kept well in a nice, toasty, warm location," Dr Egerton said.
He compared data from the missing pod with that of another of the pods within the network to find get an idea of when it disappeared.
"The lines diverge significantly from 11pm onward on December 29," Dr Egerton said.
"Taking a closer look at the raw data, the pod was pulled off its perch between 11:04pm and 11:20pm."
None of the other sensors on the network have gone missing.
It was only while walking through the Bendigo CBD within the first couple of days of this year that Dr Egerton noticed the pod had left its post.
"I had a visitor and I thought I would show them the sensors we'd put out," he said.
The Clever Weather network is an initiative of both La Trobe University and the City of Greater Bendigo.
Project data could have a number of applications, including heat mapping the city's suburban environments.
The transmissions are generally available via the UK Bureau of Meteorology website. Dr Egerton disconnected the rogue pod from the public reporting tool once he realised it went missing.
The weather sensor was screwed onto a pole outside of The Good Loaf Bakery when it was installed.
It was there almost exactly a month.
The sensor should continue functioning for three to five years, if it remains intact.
Two types of pods have been developed as part of the Clever Weather project. Earlier versions of the pod are battery operated. The newer ones are solar powered.
Had a solar powered sensor been stolen and kept indoors, it likely would have stopped transmitting data before now.
"This particular one was battery operated," Dr Egerton said.
The pod is connected to the Internet of Things though the long-range radio network.
Dr Egerton said the particular radio technology the weather sensors used had a very good transmission range, and was very good at transmitting through objects.
It would be possible to triangulate the location of the missing pod. Dr Egerton has so far been satisfied with knowing it's somewhere within range of both the university's Bendigo campus and the Ulumbarra Theatre.
However, he said there could be an unintended consequence to the rogue weather sensor's adventures - namely, further exploration of alternatives to existing GPS technologies.
Dr Egerton said GPS as we know it today is "quite energy hungry".
"It's technically possible to use the network we've built to provide energy-efficient location services, but that's a long-term project," he said.
He was surprised - and maybe a little disappointed - whoever had taken the sensor had left it intact.
Dr Egerton said it was good to see the devices were robust.
He estimated the value of the sensor at less than $50.
The suspected theft has not been reported to police.