Source: Kathy Bergen, Chicago Tribune

Come late June, city electricians are expected to start strapping beehive-shaped sensor boxes to municipal light poles — environmental Fitbits for neighborhoods, essentially.

How's the air quality? Where does rainwater pool? Where do air temperatures spike?

The 14-inch-high cylinders filled with sensors and cameras — developed by computer scientists and designers at Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago — should shed light on stubborn urban problems — everything from asthma clusters and flood-prone intersections to so-called "heat islands," densely developed corners of the city that trap heat. Ultimately, the data should lead to affordable, energy-efficient solutions to those problems and others.

The project, dubbed the Array of Things, is the most aggressive element of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's push to transform Chicago into "the most data-driven government in the world," as his top tech lieutenant recently put it. But the emerging quiver of public-private experiments aimed at honing a high-tech image for the city is fraught with risk.