Past and ongoing projects

Cambridge: the first proof-of-concept sensor network driven citizen science with 20 sensors mounted on cycling volunteers (summer 2018). The results confirmed the feasibility of using low-cost sensors to produce air quality maps showing hotspots of air pollution and highlighted the raise in awareness in the community. Currently, the main focus of open-seneca activities in Cambridge is educational, running workshops in primary schools and outreach events.

open-seneca personal air quality sensor
Testing our first air quality sensor!

Buenos Aires: the team worked in close relationship with the Canada-UK fellows (University of Cambridge), two local Argentinian universities, the Argentine Secretary for Environment and Sustainable Development, the British and American Embassies as well as Institute of Scientific and Technical Research for Defence (CITEDEF). In this context, two workshops were organised for 80 Argentinian students to educate them on health issues associated with air quality and how to build open-source hardware. The workshop was followed by distribution to 20 volunteering cyclists, who carried the sensors for 7 weeks. Prior to distribution, the sensors were co-located with the local US embassy reference station for calibration. This project enabled the identification of air pollution hotspots near busy traffic junctions and gas stations. In a collaboration between the Buenos Aires UNDP Accelerator Lab, open-seneca and the Argentine government, the sensor network has been expanded to other Argentinian cities, starting with the city of Mendoza and is now mapping the effect of COVID-19 on air pollution reduction.

open-seneca personal air quality sensor
Post educational workshop with students from Universidad Nacional de San Martín with the sensors they built

Nairobi: the team worked in collaboration with various organisations, including the United Nations Environment Programme and Human Settlements Programme (UNEP & UN-Habitat), the Maker Space Nairobi, Uber Kenya, and GetBoda in order to build sensors with local resources, parts and capacities. Kenyan collaborators at Maker Space Nairobi took ownership of the local hub of the project and organised educational workshops. The workshops were attended by more than 70 citizens, students policy makers and air quality experts. Data is currently being collected with ten delivery motorbikes with the support of UN-Habitat.

open-seneca personal air quality sensor
Photo from an amazing workshop co-organised by the University of Nairobi Maker Space and UN Habitat

Belo Horizonte: pilot of online knowledge transfer regarding sensor assembly in collaboration with the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, as part of the Urban Pathways project; the Fablab Newton, and the cycling association BH em ciclo (started in November 2019, with webinars held in February and April 2020). The distribution of six sensors has been paused due to COVID-19, but it will resume as soon as possible. The number of sensors distributed is likely to be increased following the efforts of Fablab Newton in finding local sources of funding.

open-seneca personal air quality sensor
Lorena introducing the assembly workshop