People in 14 cities will soon be able to wear ‘smart’ backpacks able to ‘breathe’ the air in the streets and measure exposure to pollution levels during and after the lockdown.
This is a part of a global initiative launched by British technology giant Dyson, which has developed a backpack for research with Kings College London and the Greater London Authority.
The bag has sensors, a battery pack and GPS, allowing data to be collected on the go.
London, New York and Delhi are among the cities involved in the study, which will use measurements taken by the portable air monitoring devices on particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere.
The collected data will be compared with local city air quality sensor data and indoor air quality data from Dyson’s connected purifiers to develop a picture of the changes in air quality in cities globally throughout the coronavirus outbreak.
The firm says the research will be split into two different phases – during the first phase, participants will wear the backpack to collect air quality data during the permitted lockdown travel, whether this is to the grocery store, jogging to the park or a key worker’s commute.
The second phase of the project will take place after the lockdown and will see the city dwellers travel along the same route as travelled during the lockdown to measure any changes.
Dyson engineers will compare these two data sets, to better understand the effect of lockdown on the day-to-day air quality exposure of individuals living in cities.