A research collaboration from Intel Research Berkeley is currently beta testing mounted air quality sensors on the Street Sweepers in San Francisco to map out pollution levels throughout the city.
After successful results from this test, the program could then spread to other cities where pollution is a serious problem. With detailed spacial urban maps of air quality variations, city officials might then be able to really get a handle on primary sources of pollution and determine solutions for improving the urban atmosphere.
The research team is also proposing a next-generation version of this project, which would provide higher-resolution data and would involve a massive citizen science effort… including anyone with a cell phone. With air monitoring devices built into personal mobile devices that also contain GPS tracking software, real-time, continuous air sampling data can be transmitted to scientist’s databases. Live current conditions could also be provided back to the user, so people with asthma or other sensitive respiratory systems could consider avoiding parts of the city that was experiencing a “bad pollution day.”
Future research programs into “urban informatics” will ultimately rely on citizen science participation, and it’s exciting that Intel will likely be on the forefront of these efforts. Check out the research proposal linked below, sign up for their mailing list, and keep a watch on future opportunities to turn your cell phone into an ultimate data collecting device!
“Common Sense Research Project” Proposal from Intel Research Berkeley :: [ VISIT ]