Squirrel: a portable pollution monitor



Why wait for the government to install fixed-location pollution monitors, when through the twin miracles of mobiles and GPS it’s possible to have air quality analyzed on the fly? Such is the plan associated with the Squirrel, a mobile add-on designed by UC San Diego engineer-turned-artist Shannon Spanhake to increase publicly available information without putting fresh burden on the taxpayer. The prototype measures carbon monoxide and ozone, and future versions will do nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide in the air, as well as temperature, barometric pressure and humidity. Then via Bluetooth, the measurements are uploaded to a public database on the Internet operated by the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2). There’s also a pollution data screensaver available for mobiles to let you see the results. [GT]


Gabrielle Taylor
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