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“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.”