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The Citysense distributed science project

photo of Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens
12th April 2007

Interesting report from Forbes, about a scientific initiative which combines both open data, with a meshwork of sensors, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

For more context, see our P2P Science pages.


“Engineers at Harvard University and BBN Technologies Inc. are collaborating on what they believe is a first-of-its kind wireless sensor network atop Cambridge light poles.

Initially the sensors will grab weather data like temperature, rainfall and wind speeds, but eventually the project designers plan to integrate such things as pollution detectors and traffic monitors.

What’s new about the system, known as CitySense, is that the sensor information will be entirely open to the public over the Web. And people anywhere can sign up for a slot to run experiments on the network.

So while a local doctor could check whether an asthma patient lives in a neighborhood with high levels of dangerous particulates, another researcher could use the system to model, say, how temperature and air pressure vary over short distances in an urban environment.

Even the data-transfer performance of the network itself – a “mesh” system in which each sensor acts as a transmitter and receiver – could be worth analyzing.”


3 Responses to “The Citysense distributed science project”

  1. Carlos Martinez Says:

    Glad to see the National Science Foundadtion along with Microsoft step up and fund this project. In light of the recent radiation releas from the damaged Japanese nuke power plants a radiation sensor might not be a bad idea to incorporate into the project. Not only do we need to be alerted for atmospheric pollutants but now for radiation levels.

  2. Steve Swanson Says:

    Here’s a nice visual of citysense and some updated info: http://www.sensenetworks.com/citysense.php

  3. yukie Says:

    I’m a bit of a newbie here,and didn’t understand all the thoughts that wraps to this blog,but your post has really helped me. Highly informative. Thanks

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