SUMMARY: Aclima implements a bottom-up approach to monitoring and managing air pollution and GHG emissions. Our distributed system relies upon and empowers individuals to measure air, as opposed to the current institutional approach. Leveraging affordable sensors, cloud-computing, crowdsourcing, and social networks, our system enables transformation at personal, community and global scales.
PROBLEM SPACE: The planet needs a system to engage billions of individuals in behaviorial changes to reduce our environmental impacts now. Controversial top-down policies are slow in building this system. Current monitoring systems do not empower people to understand and manage their own personal exposure and individual contributions to this collective problem.
SOLUTION: Aclima is a new way to monitor and improve the condition of our atmosphere and the microclimates we live in. It is a system made of individual users, but capable of working as a unit towards the common goal of improving air quality and reducing GHG emissions.
Our system begins with a unique, affordable monitor that collects multimodal data on air pollution and emission concentrations at its location. Monitors can be placed indoors or outdoors. They broadcast real-time data from their location to a web portal where information from all monitors is aggregated and visualized. Monitor broadcasts can also be made via Twitter or SMS. Users can compare, advise and engage with each other through a social-networking interface that forms community around air quality data.
The social interface motivates users to improve air quality independently and collectively. Our system can be integrated with existing social networking sites, such as Facebook, for collaborative, game-based monitoring.
We have completed working prototypes of multimodal monitors, both as stand-alone units and for wireless integration. We also created a proof-of-concept website (www.blackcloud.org) with a basic social networking interface that is used by a community of monitor-hosts worldwide. An appropriate business model is being designed to enable financial sustainability and meaningful scale.