Cell Phones And Everyday People Monitoring The Environment
by Malcolm Barr
Normal people carrying small sensors and cell phones are set to become an integral part of environmental monitoring in San Diego as part of a project called CitiSense. This is the aim of a team of computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego.
From the University's news center - "The goal of CitiSense is to build and deploy a wireless network in which hundreds or thousands of small environmental sensors carried by the public rely on cell phones to shuttle information to central computers where it will be analyzed, anonymized and reflected back out to individuals, public health agencies and San Diego at large. At the same time, the sensor-wearing public will have the option to also wear biological monitors that collect basic health information, such as heart rate. This combination of sensors will enable the team’s medical team to run exacting health science research projects, such as investigating how particular environmental pollutants affect human health."
They have won a (US)$1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to "solve the many technical challenges that stand in the way of applications that merge the cyber and physical worlds."
It will be interesting to follow this project as it proceeds, as it moves the telemetry of environmental data from the control of the collecting agency into the control of the general public. There will also be a mountain of challenges to overcome in terms of the accuracy of the data, however they have some pretty smart brains working on it.
What do you think of their plan? You can leave a comment below.
- Malcolm Barr