ScienceScope is working closely with the Internet of Things Academy as well as universities and other technology companies on the BuggyAir Project, a project which aims to help parents understand local pollution levels and how it affects their children. The project seeks to develop air quality monitoring sensors with GPS tracking that could be attached to parents/carers’ buggies so that they can monitor pollution levels in the areas they walk.
A prototype device has already been developed and is in the process of being tested by a cohort of ten volunteer parents in London. The prototype contains a particulate sensor, carbon monoxide sensor and a nitrogen dioxide sensor enabling comprehensive measurements of both levels and types of pollution.
Children’s exposure to pollution can have long term health implications including asthma and expanded lungs among others. The project would enable parents/carers to be better informed about the pollution their children are being exposed to. The information will then be uploaded to the cloud and shared through data collaborating resources. That way parents/carers could access the information they need without necessarily monitoring it themselves.
Different types of pollution cause different health effects, for example sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide cause irritation of the lungs, whereas carbon monoxide diminishes the blood’s ability to absorb oxygen affecting people with heart disease. Interestingly, in terms of particulates it is the smaller, less visible particulates which are more dangerous because they can be carried deep into the lungs. That means that sensors can help correct misapprehensions about how dangerous pollution is, as it could well be worse when it smog is less visible. Moreover, it has been suggested that levels of pollution vary by height and could be worse at children’s head height. Again the buggy air project will allow parents themselves to investigate and empower them to make the changes necessary to protect their children.
The applications are wide ranging and it is hoped that the BuggyAir project will not only enable parents/carers to make more informed choices about where they take their children but also inform government and local policy on traffic and pollution.
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