New products, Conferences, Books, Papers, Internet of Things

Posts tagged ‘pollution’

Intel’s Sensors Will Warn You About Running Outside When The Air Is Polluted

Imagine a network of air quality monitors that kept you constantly up to date about big gusts of bad air. It’s on its way, and it might be partly powered by your own phone.

Imagine: you’re gearing up to take a jog along your regular route when an app on your smartphone pushes out a message: air pollution levels are high in the park where you like to run, so maybe you should try a recommended route that’s cleaner today. It doesn’t sound incredibly far-fetched; many cities already have pollution and weather sensors. But they’re usually located on top of buildings, far from human activity.

Intel has developed sensors that can be placed closer to the ground–on lamp posts and traffic lights, for example–to create what Intel senior principal engineer Terry O’Shea calls “a community-based approach to sensing.”

Intel is piloting a deployment of its pollution and weather sensors within a month in Dublin, Ireland. The goal: to put the sensors on both main roads and smaller streets to see if the company can create a real-time picture of health in the city. The weather sensors can track temperature, humidity, wind direction, and wind speed, while the pollution sensors track oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide.

There are a number of use cases for the technology–asthma sufferers will obviously benefit greatly, for example. According to O’Shea, a canal effect causes wind blowing along major thoroughfares to peel off into side streets and alleyways, where air contaminants end up as a result. So in big cities, “when it’s too hot and you want to open the windows, you want to know if you’ll get a bunch of pollution because there’s a big baseball game happened that day,” he says.

Eventually, Intel anticipates that sensors already in smartphones will also contribute to weather and pollution data aggregation. “Data coming from people on the streets can be aggregated back to city management dashboards,” explains Intel Labs researcher Jessica McCarthy.

Intel won’t reveal how much the sensors cost–they’re still in the prototype phase, anyway–but O’Shea says that they are ” two orders of magnitude below the cost level” of current sensors.

More info here.

How a bit of dust can cut pollution

TRAFFIC experts in the North East are working on a gem of an idea to help people dodge air pollution hotspots.

The Transport Operations Research Group (Torg) at Newcastle University has developed “smart dust” technology which involves using tiny wireless sensors.

The group is now placing the sensors in jewellery which can be worn by people to tell them what levels of air pollution they are experiencing.

The sensors, which can also be fitted to mobile phones, relay information on pollution hotspots elsewhere which can then be avoided.

This is especially important for people with respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis, and other health conditions.

The low-cost sensors, housed in metal boxes, were attached to 40 lamp posts in Gateshead last November in a trial which is the first of its kind in the world.

The lamp post sensors communicate with each other, and the last one in the line reports real-time information on air pollution levels to an online database.

This can be combined with data from vehicle-counting systems at traffic lights to give a picture of both congestion and pollution.

More info here.