Bike Messengers Collect Essential Data

 - Jan 7, 2008   Updated: Apr 8 2011
References: technology.newscientist
Bike messengers in the U.K. are helping monitor pollution via their cellphones. Small wireless pollution sensors and custom software allows the phones to send data back to a lab. The advantages are many, but one of the greatest is that areas which have never been monitored before can be now. It's also an inexpensive alternative to expensive stationary monitoring units.

"Mobiles are everywhere, and now have a lot of computing power,” says Eiman Kanjo, the computer scientist at Cambridge University, UK, leading technical development of the project. “They can provide an alternative to expensive custom hardware and report from places that otherwise aren't monitored.”

Kanjo and colleagues gave local cycle couriers air-pollution sensors and GPS units that connect to their cellphones via Bluetooth. Custom software lets the phone constantly report the current air quality and location to servers back in the lab.

“They cycle around the city as usual and we receive the data over the cellphone network,” says Kanjo. “We can find out what pollutants people are exposed to and where."

Implications - Today eco-conscious consumer has an urge to help the planet that creates a demand for environmentally friendly products.