October 30, 2015

Grant allows expansion of urban sensor network

A $3.1 million grant will be used to expand an urban sensing project that aims to provide data on city environments for public use.

The Array of Things project envisions a network of sensors throughout Chicago that will gather various data on the city environment such as air-quality, sound levels, temperature, and population movements. This will provide a magnitude of quality data that is open to the public with the aim of aiding city governments, researchers, and citizens solve problems in urban communities.

The grant awarded to the project is part of the $35 million in new grants given by the National Science Foundation as part of the Obama Administration’s $160 million “Smart Cities” initiative. The initiative aims to boost technology and creative collaborations to help cities solve key problems ranging from reducing traffic congestion to increasing public safety.

Brenna Berman, Chicago’s chief technology officer, told Chicago magazine that the “funding is going to let us take the Array of Things from design, plan, and prototype to the first full-scale pilot here in the city. We anticipate putting the first 50 nodes up in Q1 of 2016, and the additional full-scale pilot over the next two-and-a-half years.”

Two nodes were activated  at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts and the Regenstein Library over the summer along with nine other nodes on the UChicago campus as part of the pilot phase.

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