Researchers at Intel Labs in Berkeley, California, have designed a prototype mobile phone that slurps up air and spits out pollution measurements.
The researchers eventually hope to make everyone who carries a phone into a mobile air quality monitor, to supplement the 4,000 stationary monitors used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state partners.
It's the idea of "citizen science" taken to a new extreme.
The pollution readings would be useful for several reasons, said Allison Woodruff, a research scientist at Intel.
First, they would give regulators a sense of air quality trouble spots that might be missed by government monitors, which tend to have significant distances between them that millions of walking monitors could fill.
The moving air sensors also would enable a new level of social science, she said. If you wanted to learn more about asthma, for instance, you could look at the air quality experienced by asthma sufferers and see if that had any impact.
Currently, such evaluations aren't really possible, she said.
The measurements would be tied to a person's GPS location to create a real-time map of air quality readings. That info could be available to everyone on an app or a website, the researchers said.
The prototype air-quality phone developed by Woodruff and Alan Mainwaring is a bit clunky for now. It has big holes in its case, to let air in. The sensors that pick up carbon monoxide, ozone and nitrogen oxide aren't small enough to let the phone fit in most pockets. That might be just as well, since the researchers aren't sure what would happen to the pollution measurements if a phone went inside a purse or pocket.
Woodruff said it might be equipped with light sensors that would tell it to stop taking and uploading measurements if it was inside a pocket.
But, they said, air quality sensors are getting better and smaller. They are confident the kinks will get worked out, and that this idea will make the air healthier. They hope their pollution-tracking phone will become reality in a matter of years.
Posted by: John D. Sutter -- CNN.com writer/producerFiled under: environment mobile phones
I have scene many interesting mobile phones – this one may take the cake
The phone, detecting that you smell bad, could deliver a deodorant advertising, and nearest purchase location - If you do not reduce your smell, update your facebook and tweet your foursquare location.
drug dealers probably won't be carrying around these types of phones (sniff 'n for drugs!)
Wonderful idea, I am fascinated by the novel application of handheld that will go a long way not only monitoring our environment by Government agencies but, individuals will have choice of least polluted areas in real time to move around. Man is gradually evolving built-in mechanism with the intelligent use of mobile phone for the benefit of society .
seems like a really lame excuse for a phone. Ismell
Just a smoke detector monitoring the number of cigarettes you smoke ?
Your exhalations, CO2 footprint, for Carbon tax and health insurance
Exceed your CO2 quota and the Environmental Protection Agency, UN-IPCC will declare you a threat to climate and Mother Gaia - Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms will send you to a FEMA Camp.
Good for California:)
Add in the ability to detect biohazards and you've got two premium phone lines that are winners.
For public safety, - a Thz camera is a must.
Upload a see through clothing picture, of a suspected terrorist, to NSA
Wow- I bet this one will be pretty useful, especially for people who are very allergic/prone to air pollution. If this technology can be embedded in more modern designs it would be really worth the additions
If we had this installed in showers it could tell you if your cleaning yourself good enough.... Or good for police officers, or even airports. Yay! Less terrorists attacks!
brilliant! the way people think stirs up the sense of usefulness in me. somehow I have a feeling immigration officers worldwide should get ready to plunge into unRELENTING usefulness.
as we recover from the global ECONOMIC MELT-DOWN;we should prepare towards global CITIES-POPULATION MELT-DOWN(relocation)!
Nice idea...could give some interesting scientific results if used on a scale large enough...I just hope it doesn't differentiate between tobacco smoke and cannabis...or at least it has a non-cannabis sniffing switch or something to that effect.... ;) just a thought...gotta think ahead, ya know.
[...] Read More at CNN.com [...]
[...] CNN Technology News http://scitech.blogs.cnn.com/2010/04/22/the-mobile-phone-that-breathes/ Environment, Intel, [...]
This would be a good idea if it were used as a game. People would realize how bad pollution is in certain areas where they live and start complaining more about it.
We are told there is pollution where we live but unless we see proof, like a phone telling us the air pollution, noone will do anything about it.
thats so cool.
why don't they just have it take readings while its speaker is in use? no one talks on the phone while its in their pocket.
Great... another useless gadget that wastes battery power.
I am always on the lookout for new models of Nokia phone and also iPhone.'`:
Nokia always makes the coolest mobile phone.*,:
I have noticed a large number of new motorola phones, this is very good but I prefer this:
i often use my mobile phone compared to my netbooks-"*
the best mobile phones should have high resolution cameras and some netbook functionality.'~
[...] only a prototype at this point, but researchers at Intel Labs in Berkeley, California, have installed air pollution detectors on a mobile phone in the hope that people could log air quality measurements as they move about the Bay Area. The [...]
mobile phones are getting cheaper and cheaper, i just hope that they add more features into it.*.
[...] researchers at Intel Labs іn Berkeley, California, hаνе installed air pollution detectors on a mobile phone іn the hope thаt people mау possibly log air quality [...]
my mobile phone is not the latest one but it sure has lots of features *~*
I prefer simplicity for mobile phone.
cheap mobile phone is a jerk
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You have to love "citizen science" This is another great Idea that would help out everyone. I think at first some of the reading
would shock us."Major Wake up Call". But it's another example of citizens doing their part.
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Are you a gadgethead? Do you spend hours a day online? Or are you just curious about how technology impacts your life? In this digital age, it's increasingly important to be fluent, or at least familiar, with the big tech trends. From gadgets to Google, smartphones to social media, this blog will help keep you informed.