Computer scientists from the University of California, San Diego, are creating a network of environmental sensors that will help people avoid air pollution hot spots, in a new research.
The network is known as "CitiSense", which is the vision of computer scientists from the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.
The system will provide up-to-the-minute information on outdoor and indoor air quality, based on environmental information collected by hundreds, and eventually thousands, of sensors attached to the backpacks, purses, jackets and board shorts of the people of San Diego going about daily life.
According to William Griswold, a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, "San Diego County has 3.1 million residents, 4,000 square miles, and only five official EPA air quality monitors. We know about the air quality in those exact spots but we know much less about the air quality in other places."
"Our goal is to give San Diegans up-to-the-minute environmental information about where they live, work and play-information that will empower anyone in the community to make healthier choices," he added.
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.
Mobile phones and other handheld devices are traditionally designed to serve one person-the user.
Including these electronics in advanced computing systems that have other priorities will require new power and workload management strategies.
Computer science professor Tajana Simunic Rosing and her graduate students are developing systems to ensure that the phones and other mobile devices, serve as stepping stones between environmental sensors and the centralized computing infrastructure, will not drop calls or suffer other hits to performance.