Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Measuring fine dust concentration via smartphone

Date:
May 23, 2014
Source:
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Summary:
Big cities in the smog: Photos from Beijing and, more recently, Paris clearly illustrate the extent of fine dust pollution. But what about our direct environment? What is the pollution concentration near our favorite jogging route? Scientists are developing a sensor that can be connected easily to smartphones. In the future, users are to take part in drawing up a pollution map via participatory sensing. The precision of the map will be the higher, the more people will take part.

Clean air alongside busy roads? The smartphone fine dust sensor is intended to measure concentration in real time.
Credit: Patrick Langer, KIT

Big cities in the smog: Photos from Beijing and, more recently, Paris clearly illustrate the extent of fine dust pollution. But what about our direct environment? What is the pollution concentration near our favorite jogging route? Scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are developing a sensor that can be connected easily to smartphones. In the future, users are to take part in drawing up a pollution map via participatory sensing. The precision of the map will be the higher, the more people will take part.

The principle of fine dust measurements using a smartphone corresponds to that of simple optical sensors. "Instead of the conventional infrared LED in the sensor, the flashlight of the smartphone emits light into the measurement area. This light is scattered by the possibly existing dust or smoke. The camera serves as a receptor and takes a picture representing the measurement result. The brightness of the pixels can then be converted into the dust concentration," computer scientist Matthias Budde explains. He has developed the system as a member of the research group TECO of KIT's Chair for Pervasive Computing.

The computer scientists have carried out comparative measurements to prove that the principle works. The smartphone sensors are not yet as precise as specialized instruments. However, their costs are much lower. "Detectors at the official measurement stations operated by the Baden-Wόrttemberg State Agency for the Environment, Measurement, and Nature Conservation are very precise, but also very large, very expensive, and static. In Karlsruhe, for instance, only two measurement stations have been established," Budde says. He plans to enhance accuracy by a high measurement density. Measurements of many, closely adjacent sensors may be combined to results of reduced inaccuracy. Thus, measurement errors could be reduced. Due to their close vicinity, the sensors might also be calibrated against each other. Budde thinks that a potential application scenario is joint measurement or participatory sensing: Interested citizens measure data at various places in their city and share them. These data may then be used to draw up a fine dust pollution map for the respective city in real time.

The sensor is planned to be attached to the smartphone by means of a magnet, for instance. Adaptation of electronics will not be required. Users who want to join participatory sensing will have to download the corresponding app. At the measurement point desired, the sensor is attached to the cell phone and the users take a photo or a video for measurement. The images can be evaluated locally or transmitted to a computer system that combines these data with other measurements and sends them back. Then, the fine dust concentration is displayed by the phone.

Presently, the smartphone sensor can measure concentrations of about one microgram per cubic meter. This is sufficient for detecting coarse dust and smoke, but not for typical fine dust concentrations in the microgram range. The scientists now plan to further increase the sensitivity of the sensors. This can be achieved among other means by ideally bundling the flashlight in the sensor by using hemispherical lenses. This principle is realized in a recently produced, far smaller second prototype. In addition, the evaluation algorithms and the smartphones themselves will be further developed. In the future, the devices will no longer compress the photos automatically, but also be able to supply raw data. This promises to increase the accuracy of the measurement results even further. Budde reckons that a smartphone sensor able to detect typical fine dust will have been developed in the course of next year.

The doctoral thesis of the computer scientist, however, does not only deal with the further development of the sensor and the possibilities of generating a map from the measurement points, but also with the question of how citizens can be motivated to participate. "Many people are intrinsically interested in such offers, because they see a benefit for themselves and others," Budde says. For those, who like games, a gamification system might be feasible. Users might score points for the collection of data or measurements at certain locations. Also, data protection is an important aspect of participatory sensing. "Users have to be sure that the operator protects their data from being tracked or stolen and uses them for nothing but the pollution map." An option is data aggregation, by means of which data are combined and bundled such that they can no longer be traced back to an individual person. But the central idea of participatory sensing is the joint benefit resulting from an increased information quality -- which increases with the number of measurements.

KIT Video on measuring fine dust concentration via smartphone: http://www.kit.edu/videos/feinstaub_messen


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. "Measuring fine dust concentration via smartphone." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140523145256.htm>.
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. (2014, May 23). Measuring fine dust concentration via smartphone. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140523145256.htm
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. "Measuring fine dust concentration via smartphone." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140523145256.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) — If you've ever watched "Back to the Future Part II" and wanted to get your hands on a hoverboard, well, you might soon be in luck. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) — Researchers in South Korea are developing a robotic pilot that could potentially replace humans in the cockpit. Unlike drones and autopilot programs which are configured for specific aircraft, the robots' humanoid design will allow it to fly any type of plane with no additional sensors. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 20, 2014) — Scientists in Tokyo have demonstrated what they say is the world's first 3D projection that floats in mid air. A laser that fires a pulse up to a thousand times a second superheats molecules in the air, creating a spark which can be guided to certain points in the air to shape what the human eye perceives as an image. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Apple Enters Mobile Payment Business

Apple Enters Mobile Payment Business

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) — Apple is making a strategic bet with the launch of Apple Pay, the mobile pay service aimed at turning your iPhone into your wallet. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins