The sensors measure the carbon monoxide content of outdoor air and the results can be viewed on a smartphone application.
Air quality sensors are being made available for loan at Itäkeskus, Vallila and Viikki libraries and Central Library Oodi in Helsinki.
The initiative is part of the UrbanSense project between the City of Helsinki, the University of Helsinki and the City’s innovation company Forum Virium Helsinki.
The aim of the loan scheme is to collect data on the air quality in different areas of the city as comprehensively as possible.
The air quality sensors, which are worn on the wrist, measure the carbon monoxide content of outdoor air, and the results of the measurements can be viewed on a downloadable smartphone application.
The sensor transmits data to the user’s phone via Bluetooth, where it can be viewed using the Oo application developed by air pollution monitoring app specialist Geme.io. The measurement data is also transmitted to the University of Helsinki, where it is used for research purposes.
As the data accumulates, the results can also be viewed by anyone on the geme.io website and on information boards in the libraries that loan out the sensors.
The sensors are created using 3D printers and made of biodegradable plastic. They have a loan time of two weeks.
“It is the duty of libraries to facilitate access to information and promote public discussion, and the sensors now being tested do just that,” said the City of Helsinki’s director of library services, Katri Vänttinen.
“It is great for us and our customers to be able to participate in these kinds of data collection efforts, the aim of which is to gain a better understanding of the state of our environment.”
“It is the duty of libraries to facilitate access to information and promote public discussion, and the sensors now being tested do just that.”
The sensors are still in their prototype stage and not yet perfect, so user experiences and feedback are vital for further development,” said Janne Edgren, CEO of Loopshore Oy, the company that developed the sensors.
He added: “The aim of measuring carbon monoxide content is to gain an overview of air quality, in addition to which the data collected with the sensors can be utilised in many ways in urban planning.
“The air quality measurements provide information on things like where traffic should be redirected during specific times of day. In Norway, for example, air quality data has been utilised to set restrictions on passenger car traffic and reduce public transport fares during times when air quality is low.”
Ten sensors are currently available and will remain on loan until further notice.
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