Did you know that scientists use smartphones to monitor air pollution levels in San Diego?
Just 100 of the sensors scattered over a sizeable area can generate "a wealth of data" about ozone, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide content inside the air we breathe. These are the most common pollutants in city areas, emitted mostly by vehicles. According to data presented at the Wireless Health 2012 conference in San Diego, pollution remains concentrated in hot spots, along main roads and at intersections. The report also revealed that, unfortunately, "the people who are doing the most to reduce emissions, by biking or taking the bus, were the people who experienced the highest levels of exposure to pollutants."
The project's ultimate goal is to build and deploy a wireless network in which hundreds of small environmental sensors carried by the public rely on cell phones to shuttle information to central computers for analysis and delivery to individuals, public health agencies and the community at large. The sensors currently cost $1,000 per unit, but could easily be mass-produced at an affordable price. So far, Griswold's team has built and deployed 20 of them in the field.