Across Chicago, more than 100 Array of Things nodes currently collect data on temperature, humidity, air pressure, magnetic field, vibration, light and air quality, publishing the results openly for scientists, city officials and residents to use. With Lane Tech, AoT researchers have developed a pilot educational program to bring the project into schools as well, using off-the-shelf devices to help students create their own smaller version of the sensor network.
While the first two years of the workshop, called “Lane of Things,” deployed student-built sensors in the hallways of Lane Tech, this year’s partnership with the Chicago Cubs presented a much higher-profile experimental setting. Students quizzed team representatives on their most pressing questions, designed custom devices for measuring sound, weather and customer satisfaction, and installed the sensors around the ballpark in late May.
A new Innovation Generation grant from the Motorola Solutions Foundation will help Array of Things expand its educational curriculum to additional Chicago Public Schools classrooms in 2018. Building upon two successful years of workshops with over 300 students at Lane Tech High School, the program will train teachers and package materials for a hands-on experience with the Internet of Things, coding, data science, and other key computer science and technology concepts.
From wildfire smoke to traffic pollutants, air quality sensors track data to help city leaders make informed interventions, and their use across cities is growing.
Cities including Chicago, Seattle and Portland, OR have launched air quality sensor pilot programs. Chicago’s project began this year as part of its Array of Things (AoT) connected urban sensor program. The city currently has 100 devices installed and an additional 100 will be operational by year’s end, on the way to the ultimate goal of 500.
The existing units measure “seven different gases including ozone, carbon dioxide and nitrogen by using experimental electrochemical gas sensors. They also have particulate matter sensors,” Charlie Catlett, senior computer scientist at Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago, told Smart Cities Dive.
Lane Tech College Prep High School students, in collaboration with the University of Chicago, will be installing sensor boxes at Wrigley Field to measure sound levels, customer satisfaction and air quality, among other things. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
When Cubs fans leave Wrigley Field starting Tuesday night, they may encounter a simple console with two circular buttons: one a red, angry face, the other a green, smiley face. The sensor will have a question attached asking fans about their experience at the ballpark and whether they would recommend a Wrigley visit to their family and friends.
But it won’t be Cubs executives on the other end monitoring the responses. Rather, each push of a button will be recorded and registered on the computers of Lane Tech High School students.