Kites to Carry Pollution Monitors for Beijing Residents
Next month, Beijing residents will send LED-decorated kites into the air to measure the pollution for themselves.
Beijing's air pollution levels have been up for some debate, it seems. Reuters recently reported that the Chinese government's official air quality readings often differ greatly from the reports the U.S. embassy Tweets every hour. Now, two graduate students studying in the U.S. are starting a program in Beijing to attach cheap controllers and sensors to homemade kites to capture air quality data.
During the first two Saturdays of August, Deren Guler of Carnegie Mellon University and Xiaowei Wang of Harvard University will teach interested Beijingers how to attach hobbyists' computing and sensing equipment to kites they've commissioned from "old Chinese kite masters," IEEE Spectrum reported.
Once the kites are assembled, everyone will head out to small public plazas in the city to fly the kites at night. Besides sensors, the kites will carry LED lights that will glow red, yellow or green, depending on the pollution levels they detect.
That means the kites won't only gather interesting data, they should also put on a pretty show in a city where it's difficult to see the stars at night, Guler and Wang wrote on their Kickstarter page, where they successfully earned more than $4,500 for the project. "Our project is public art," they wrote. "It also brings together people from all walks of life . . . to participate and make the final public art piece together."
Source: IEEE Spectrum