Helping Future Brits Breath Easier

So far, the tech and media news from the London Olympics has been about streaming media (all of it, all the time) and sponsor branding police (all of it, all the time). Now, there’s much cooler news that researchers are going to use the Olympics as an occasion to plan for air pollution.

The team of researchers will use their CityScan technology, which gathers scattered sunlight to scan whole cities and take readings of air quality…over every point of the city – including individual roads, playgrounds and other buildings.  It will also reveal the days and times when pollution levels are at their highest….

The sensors will give readings of nitrogen dioxide, which is produced from traffic emissions and can decrease lung function and increase the risk from respiratory illnesses, including bronchitis and asthma. Team leader Dr Roland Leigh, of the university’s Earth Observation Science Group, said: “We will be able to map the pollution in 3D to show emissions of nitrogen dioxide and how far they spread.”

It’s essentially impossible for cities to do anything but model future growth on population on computers.  It is exciting to see that London is going to take advantage of this opportunity to try to make a difference in public health.

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