Air Quality Soundscape – Update

Team: Yuchen Zhang, Natasha Lewandrowski, Agustin Crawford (Nevaris), and special guest artist Fabiola Einhorn.

Description: We propose to build an urban air quality monitor that provides realtime audio feedback. Our goal is to create a portable particulate matter monitor that can be worn inconspicuously during regular daily activities. We will utilize the form and function of a pair a headphones to express air-quality information through sound while also keeping the device inconspicuous.

Initial goals: We will collect air quality information using an optical dust sensor.  The sensor data will be transmitted to a mobile phone  using an Arduino Yun. The phone will provide GPS, time, and location data. As an alternate plan, we might use a separate standalone GPS paired with a datalogger to collect this information.

The dust sensor data will be output as sound using the headphones. The wearer will listen to prerecorded tracks that are stored on a micro SD card and played through the Arduino Yun. The sensor data will manifest as noise in the audio track. When the wearer is in a clean air environment she will be able to listen to her music clearly. When the wearer is in a dirty air environment the songs will be distorted. The goal is to guide the wearer to safe air by manipulating the quality of her music.

The GPS and sensor data can be uploaded to a computer and used to create a complementary set of visual maps of air quality based on the wearer’s travels.

Long term goals: We envision continuing this project beyond the scope of the midterm. Our long term goal is to create a mobile app that could be paired with the headphones. This would allow the  wearer to listen to her music normally (instead of through the sd card) while still receiving audio feedback from the sensor. Additionally, the wearer to see the visual data in real time on her phone, rather than having to wait until she gets home.

We would also like to create an inexpensive standalone device that could be used by people who cannot afford a smart phone. In this version audio might be collected and manipulated based on ambient sound in the environment rather than by manipulating audio files.

Production Schedule:

  • Due Sept 25: Create a functional prototype to test the optical dust sensor and see if we can record the information to the data logger (in progress).
  • Due Oct 2: Incorporate the GPS data and experiment with audio feedback (in progress).
  • Due Oct 9: Design the enclosure. Final design complete.
  • Due Oct 16: 3D print enclosure. Document project.
  • Due Oct  23: Present final project.

Technical diagrams

Diagram using GPS and datalogger
Diagram of how the dust sensor is connected to the Arduino

UX diagram

UX diagram