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CitiSense, a cell-phone based sensor network system, has won a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop and deploy hundreds of small environmental sensors carried by the public in San Diego.

The goal of CitiSense is to build and deploy thousands of small environmental sensors that use cell phones to relay data. The sensor-wearing public may also wear biological monitors, collecting basic health information, such as heart rate. The data will be analyzed, anonymized and reflected back out to individuals, public health agencies and San Diego at large.

“San Diego County has 3.1 million residents, 4,000 square miles, and only five official EPA air quality monitors. Our goal is to give San Diegans up-to-the-minute environmental information about where they live, work and play —information that will empower anyone in the community to make healthier choices,” said William Griswold, the principal investigator on the grant.

It will enable UCSD’s medical team to investigate how particular environmental pollutants affect human health. Dr. Kevin Patrick from UC San Diego’s California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) and the UCSD School of Medicine will lead the medical efforts. Seacoast Science is providing expertise on chemical sensors.

Project Sun SPOT was created to encourage the development of new applications and devices.

An unrelated cell phone project, CitySense combines social networks and social activities to Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities.

Incidently, that underwater robot crossing the Atlantic, the Scarlet Knight, formally arrived in Spain on December 9th. It was the first ever trans-Atlantic crossing of an unmanned mini-sub.

The gliders are not driven by propellers, but by buoyancy changes that require relatively little battery power. It frequently surfaced along the way to send back sensor data to Rutgers’ control room (pdf) that integrates data from instruments received by a 900 MHz FreeWave Radio (with a 60 mile range) and an Iridium data link and puts them onto their web site in real-time.

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