U.S. Health Agencies Want Device to Track People Breathing
There are thousands of studies showing different pollutants in the air affect people's heart health, lung health and even their mortality rates. But there's never been one quite like this. U.S. health agencies are looking for a device that will help them study air pollution's health effects by tracking where people go, what concentrations of air pollution they run into and how their bodies respond.
In an open call for proposals, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency are asking for ideas for a tracking device that people would wear as they go about their day. The device should periodically take samples of the air and measure the concentration of at least one pollutant, along with vital signs that a scientific study has suggested should be affected by the pollutant. The device could measure small-particle pollution, for example, as well as heartbeat.
The device should then send the data to central database, along with the location and time the data were gathered.
The U.S. believes all the technology the device would use already exists, according to the call. "Solvers will not be required to invent novel sensor technologies," the call says.
People or teams who submit their ideas by October 5 could win a $15,000 prize. One winner who makes it through a second round of competition will get $100,000.
The call suggests U.S. agencies are gearing up to gather the most high-tech, detailed data yet on how pollution affects people at the moment they breathe it in.