Space tech returns to Earth to fight air pollution exposure in hospitals

A patient-centred app will use space data combined with AI to deliver personalised, disease-specific exercise advice with pollution warnings within 10 metres

A team of researchers in the UK have been awarded £2 million for the development of health technologies inspired by working in space to fight exposure to air pollution in hospitals.

The University of Leicester, in partnership with the city’s hospitals, is developing a new mobile application that uses data from Earth Observation satellites that can map pollution hotpots in towns and cities.

Called Personalised Space Technology Exercise Platform (P-STEP), it will provide guidance based on space data combined with artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver personalised exercise advice taking into consideration any medical conditions the person suffers from which could be exacerbated by pollution, such as asthma.

Pollution warnings will then be generated at the local level to within 10 metres.

The funding for the project is being provided by the UK Space Agency in partnership with NHS England and the European Space Agency (ESA).

Professor Andre Ng, Consultant Cardiologist at the University of Leicester said: “Whilst we know physical activity is good for many patients with long term conditions including heart and lung diseases, clinicians are often anxious about recommending exercise and often unable to prescribe accurate and effective exercise for their patients.

“We are really pleased to have been given the NHS/UK Space Agency award, which enables us to harness our expertise in Space, Health and Environment sciences here at Leicester.

“We will develop a patient-centred mobile app that takes in satellite data with unique resolution including that of air quality that delivers precise guideline-based exercise advice tailored to their condition and ability. This greatly enhances the confidence of both healthcare professionals to prescribe and patients to put into practice, effective physical activity which improves well-being and reduces healthcare utilisation.”

Latest Podcast