People Actually Like Clunky Environment-Sensing Wrist Bands From La Montre Verte


Photo via Gizmag

In May, Sensaris crossed our radar. It's a wristband that turns people into walking environment sensors. Sensaris trackers would essentially crowdsource information about air pollution so everyone would be able to know the air quality in certain areas in real time. Nice idea, we said, but no one will wear these things, right? Wrong. Turns out, these wrist watch-like sensors are kinda popular. At least, that is, among visitors at a conservation festival in Amsterdam in September who strapped on a La Montre Verte device. It is a similar idea (and looks practically the same) as Sensaris, and is a collaboration among several French tech companies and Foundation internet nouvelle génération (Fing).

The group wanted to increase how many air quality sensors were out in urban settings, sampling air quality from all different locations, and track that data for a better understanding of real time air quality. As Gizmag reports, "The readings are then sent via Bluetooth to a mobile phone supplied by SFR which in turn sends the data to a central database, the CityPulse portal... The user can see real-time results of the readings on the screen of the mobile phone in the form of an eye where the color of the pupil varies according to the amount of ozone present in the air and the iris indicates the level of noise. The time - and geolocation - stamped sensor readings are stored on the CityPulse portal and analyzed. Software has been developed to overlay the readings on a top-down street map."

Gizmag reports the devices were "a surprise hit," which means the goal of bringing citizens on board in collecting data as passive citizen scientists as well as getting those same people, and everyone else, more involved in the issues around urban air quality is being achieved. At least in the pilot tests anyway.

Could this be the next hot fashion accessory (...along with a Filter Scarf) for eco-savvy urbanites? Perhaps...if they made them a little less cereal-box-toy clunky looking.

This kind of citizen-based data collection is growing in popularity, with everything from real time traffic pollution to gathering scientific data with your cell phone on behalf of scientists. Even Google is on board with the idea, asking drivers to let their cell phones record traffic data in order to help everyone avoid traffic jams and air pollution.

So yes, if designed to be more stylish, it's possible people would be willing to wear one on a daily basis in order to contribute. Possible. Would you?

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Tags: Electronics | Gadgets