Measuring for a better living environment

18 March 2020

Anything is measurable, thanks to sensors and smart technology. But what should you do with the data collected? And more importantly, how can it be used to solve problems? Sensemakers is using measurement data and results to create a better living environment.

Air quality, water quality, noise pollution, and waste processing are four highly important aspects that need to be continuously monitored and compared against the standard. After all, measuring is the only way to find out whether something is doing well or badly, and how you can improve the situation. At Marineterrein Amsterdam, Sensemakers is working on smart measuring devices to find the answers to exactly those questions.

Water experiment
An experiment has been in progress for some time now to continuously measure water quality using sensors. When you combine the data with the results from a rain sensor, a correlation can be clearly observed: heavy rain reduces the water quality. This is because heavy rain leads to an overflow in the sewer system, which contaminates bathing water.

New applications
There are countless more possibilities, like using sensors to measure how full a rubbish bin is, so it can only be emptied when needed. This not only prevents litter, but also saves on emissions caused by the refuse collection truck – a double bonus! Or crops that communicate through a satellite connection, telling the farmer whether any water is needed. And a sensor in your refrigerator that knows what products you’ve run out of and how many more you need, even updating your shopping list automatically with the supermarket home delivery service.

Meaningful data
The measurement possibilities are endless, but the question is what to do with the data. For Sensemakers, it’s not just about sharing knowledge on creating solutions with sensors, but also, as the name suggests, determining what the data collected means. To demonstrate this, Sensemakers measured the air quality in a room full of people (see chart below) during a meeting on the Marineterrein last year. Over time, the concentration of CO₂ in the air increased sharply, but was quickly reduced again simply by opening a window. It was also shown that the height at which you measure has a major influence. Insights that are especially important when you consider how air quality has a huge impact on the learning ability of children in a classroom, for example. A lower concentration of CO₂ in the air will also mean you feel less sluggish by the end of a long meeting.

Translations comments in graph (from top to bottom):
Sensor 1 was positioned on the ground
Door at the back of the room was opened
Sensor 2 was positioned at a height of about 1.1 m
Door closed

The idea is to make everyday objects smart. Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, any object can be connected to the internet. The sensors in your refrigerator, for example, measure and transmit the data, so it can be interpreted and action can be taken, e.g. more milk is ordered. So, we never need to have an empty fridge again, but we can also have greater control over air and water quality. Who knows what smart applications can do in the future?

If you would you like to find out more about IoT in everyday life in the future, then come along to a Sensemakers meet-up on the Marineterrein. Click here to learn more.