You gotta love it when your phone does work for you. Especially when that work it keeping your carbon footprint in check.
Intel and the University of Washington are developing UbiGreen, which promises to be one of the easiest phone apps to use when it comes to greening how you get around town. All you have to do to know if you're making the right moves is look at your cell phone's wallpaper.
Read on to see how it ranks with similar phone apps. Similar to Ecorio, which uses the phone's built in GPS to detect transportation activities, UbiGreen will use Intel's mobile sensing platform to detect how a person is getting around town. The platform is more sensitive than GPS in detecting walking, biking, being a passenger on a train, and so forth. If it detects you're in a vehicle, a questionnaire opens to ask you about how you're traveling to determine the carbon impact.
Carbon Diem also uses your phone's GPS to detect your travel methods and determine carbon impact - but like we said, the Intel sensor platform looks to be more sensitive and accurate than the GPS system.
Right now, you'd have to wear an ugly clunky thing on your hip to utilize the mobility sensor. Good news, though - they've been able to integrate the platform onto the iPhone and so soon, phones will be able to be much more accurate in sensing how you move, and calculating your carbon footprint with UbiGreen.
UbiGreen's usage requirements will be easy peasy - just look at your wallpaper. As you take green transportation, a tree grows on your wallpaper. When you make choices that have higher carbon footprints, your tree wilts. Simple!
It looks to be one of the better apps to use for tracking carbon footprints, simply because of the ease of use and the fact that you don't have to remember to run the program, enter info, and find your own incentives for keeping up the good work. But it does seem to lack the fun interactivity with friends offered by apps like Ecorio.
Another factor we're curious about is how much battery power this thing sucks up. To have a sensor running all the time, plus animated wallpaper...will you have to buy a solar charger just to be able to talk for more than a few minutes?
We can't make too many quick judgements now, though, because the phone app won't be out for another year or so. Who knows how many changes or additions it'll have between now and then, but the hope is it'll only get better. It'd better be amazing though, because at the rate carbon calculator apps are coming out, it is sure to have competition.