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Smartphone Users can Now Detect Air Pollution in Real Time Through Portable Sensors

by Kathy Jones on  December 30, 2012 at 5:34 PM Environmental Health   - G J E 4
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People can now monitor the quality of the air they breathe in real time through their smartphones thanks to new portable pollution sensors developed by a team of computer scientists at University of California.
 Smartphone Users can Now Detect Air Pollution in Real Time Through Portable Sensors
Smartphone Users can Now Detect Air Pollution in Real Time Through Portable Sensors

The sensors could be particularly useful to people suffering from chronic conditions, such as asthma, who need to avoid exposure to pollutants.

CitiSense is the only air-quality monitoring system capable of delivering real-time data to users' cell phones and home computers-at any time. Data from the sensors can also be used to estimate air quality throughout the area where the devices are deployed, providing information to everyone-not just those carrying sensors.

"We want to get more data and better data, which we can provide to the public. We are making the invisible visible," said William Griswold, a computer science professor at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego and the lead investigator on the project.

The CitiSense sensors detect ozone, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide, the most common pollutants emitted by cars and trucks.

The user interface displays the sensor's readings on a smart phone by using a color-coded scale for air quality based on the EPA's air quality ratings, from green (good) to purple (hazardous).

In addition to principal investigator Griswold, the team includes School of Medicine and Calit2 professor Kevin Patrick; computer science professors Ingolf Krueger, Tajana Simunic Rosing, Hovav Shacham and Sanjoy Dasgupta; as well as graduate students and postdoctoral researchers Piero Zappi, Nima Nikzad, Elizabeth Bales, Celal Ziftci, Nichole Quick and Nakul Verma.

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