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Network of Smartphone-Based Sensors Monitor Air Pollution Levels

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a network of smartphone-based air pollution monitors that allow individuals to track pollution levels in real time and feed a central database of air quality trends citywide throughout the day.

The so-called CitySense devices are equipped with sensors that measure ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon monoxide, and a digital app that illustrates the color-coded results based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality ratings.

During a four-week test, in which the phones were distributed to 30 volunteers, the system showed hotspots of elevated pollution that shifted over the course of the day.

Ultimately, the developers hope to deploy hundreds of devices in order to generate a public database on air quality levels. “We want more data and better data, which we can provide to the public,” said William Griswold, a computer science professor at UC San Diego. “We are making the invisible visible.”

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.