Harvard i-lab | 2013 Deans' Health & Life Sciences Challenge -- Urban Mobile Sensors | Summary and Q&A

June 24, 2013
Harvard Innovation Labs
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Harvard i-lab | 2013 Deans' Health & Life Sciences Challenge -- Urban Mobile Sensors


Urban Mobile Sensors is a project that utilizes bike-mounted mini sensors and crowdsourcing to remap and collect data on urban environments, addressing the limitations of current mapping techniques.

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Key Insights

  • 👾 Urban Mobile Sensors aims to redefine how urban spaces are mapped and understood by leveraging bike-mounted mini sensors and crowdsourced data.
  • 🖤 The project can provide valuable information on road quality, air pollution, congestion, and more that is currently lacking in existing mapping systems.
  • 👤 By collaborating with bike sharing networks and smartphone users, Urban Mobile Sensors has the potential to collect vast quantities of data and reach a wide range of users.
  • 📽️ The project has garnered interest from various organizations, including the Office of New Urban Mechanics, the Department of Innovation and Technology, and the Mayor's Office in Boston.
  • 💦 Urban Mobile Sensors plans to work with partners in sensor development, engineering planning, and application development to further refine and expand their data collection capabilities.
  • 💗 The project aligns with the growing trend of using mini sensors for urban mapping, as recognized by the EPA's recent endorsement of such technology.
  • 👳 Landscape architects and urban designers play a crucial role in the project, utilizing their knowledge and diverse expertise to address urban environmental challenges.


hello my name is michael lugering i'm working in partnership with andrew leonard and our team program and focus is on something we're calling urban mobile sensors urban mobile sensors leverages the available technology of bike mounted mini sensors to remap the urban environment by that we mean that through using custom mini sensors that are widely ... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How does Urban Mobile Sensors collect data on road quality?

The project uses mini sensors installed on bikes to measure the microtopography of roads. This quantitative data provides a more accurate understanding of road quality compared to the qualitative PCI scale used currently.

Q: How does Urban Mobile Sensors leverage bike sharing networks?

By linking with bike sharing networks like Hubway, the project can mobilize sensors on a large scale and collect vast amounts of data from various locations.

Q: How can Urban Mobile Sensors benefit daily commuters?

Urban Mobile Sensors allows commuters to make more informed decisions by providing real-time data on air quality, traffic congestion, and safe bike routes, enhancing their overall commute experience.

Q: How does Urban Mobile Sensors contribute to research on public health and safety?

The project enables researchers to access precise and localized data on pollution levels, traffic patterns, and other factors affecting public health. This information can assist in studying and addressing issues like asthma and advocating for better urban environments.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Urban Mobile Sensors leverages bike sharing and mini sensors to gather data on pavement quality, air pollution, congestion, and more in urban spaces.

  • The existing mapping of urban areas is limited in its ability to depict and explain the urban experience.

  • The project aims to provide valuable information for daily commuters, traffic engineers, city planners, researchers, and advocacy groups.

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