The Array of Things isn’t just a city-scale scientific instrument, but an educational platform as well. Students working with AoT data and building their own sensor boxes can receive valuable hands-on experience with technology, programming, data analysis, and the scientific method. Since 2016, the Array of Things project has created and refined an educational curriculum called “Lane of Things” at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago, introducing over 450 students to sensor and data science projects.
This coming year, with a fourth round of funding from the Motorola Solutions Foundation, Lane of Things will officially expand into a broader “School of Things” project, bringing the AoT-inspired curriculum to a larger group of teachers and schools. The new approach started this summer with a week-long professional development workshop for 11 Chicago middle and high school teachers, taught by the Lane of Things project team.
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.
CHICAGO—The University of Chicago (UChicago) announced today that the National Science Foundation has awarded a $3.1 million grant to support the development of Array of Things, an urban sensing instrument that will serve as a fitness tracker for the city. Starting next year, 500 Array of Things (AoT) nodes will measure data on Chicago’s environment, infrastructure and activity to scientifically investigate solutions to urban challenges ranging from air quality to urban flooding. The ultimate goal of this innovative community technology platform is to help make cities cleaner, healthier and more livable.