Oakland residents will measure pollution rates with their mobiles
The Bay Citizen | | 07.15.11
The computer chip manufacturer Intel and the California association West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project (EIP) have partnered to develop sensors for mobile phones capable of measuring particulate pollutants emitted by cars and industries. At the base of this fruitful partnership is an official report: West Oakland, a city neighborhood adjacent to one of the largest U.S. ports, is surrounded by stretches of freeways and studded with factories. A nest to varied pollutants, the rate of cancer in its residents is nearly double that of other parts of the city. Despite protests from the residents association, West Oakland today has only one air monitoring station. Intel and EIP had the idea to transform residents into mobile micro-stations who could instantly measure pollution levels.
Pollution tracker phones
At the moment, Intel researchers have not been able to make a chip that can measure particulate matter small enough to fit inside a mobile. However, researchers are testing a larger prototype called the “GIS dust tracker” on street cleaning trucks in San Francisco, the city across from Oakland, to measure the types and quantities of pollutants emitted into the atmosphere.
Meanwhile in Oakland, volunteers have been equipped with a device the size of a large phone that contains a chip capable of measuring different pollutants in the air such as carbon monoxide, ozone and nitrogen oxide. GPS enabled, this equipment can exactly track the location and time of pollution measurements, which then feed a database that could eventually be seen by everyone on the web.
What’s next? Reduce design costs and persuade manufacturers to integrate these pollution telltales into phones.
For cities, this data would be valuable: pollution maps and prevention policies, level alerts for residents, protection for at risk groups . . . Perhaps real estate ads might include this data, leading the city’s most polluted neighbors to action.
Read also :
- When urban people will measure pollution with a green wrist watch
- Mobile Millennium: mobile sensors become a viable means to measure traffic
Credits : Common Sense Project
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