Developing a Wearable Air Quality Sensor for Understanding Community Air Quality

EPA Grant Number: SU836123
Title: Developing a Wearable Air Quality Sensor for Understanding Community Air Quality
Investigators: Henriques, Justin
Institution: James Madison University
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 2015 through August 31, 2016
Project Amount: $14,961
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2015) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Awards , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , Sustainability , P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment


This project is for the design and development of a wearable air quality sensor for understanding community air quality. According to the World Health Organization, exposure to air pollution is now the largest single environmental health risk globally, leading to approximately 7 million deaths in 2012 alone. Understanding the local spatiotemporal patterns of air pollution is an important step in helping inform communities on decisions related to addressing the challenges of air quality. However, it can be difficult to analyze these patterns only using traditional air quality stations, particularly in urban environments where there are multiple sources of pollutants in a system with complex dynamics. Understanding these dynamics could help inform smart growth policies and contribute to preventing air pollution in built environments by identifying pollution sources, resulting in more sustainable communities.


  1. Design and build a portable air quality sensor built on open source technology that is small enough to be carried by individuals,
  2. Develop methods for analyzing the air pollution data quality obtained from the air quality sensors,
  3. Create data dashboards that will enable the users to visually explore the spatial and time related patterns of air pollution in their communities,
  4. Test sensors operating simultaneously and compare these data with existing air quality data sources.

Expected Results:

This project will develop a wearable air quality sensor assembly and a data dashboard that analyzes air quality data. Portable air quality sensors have the potential to fill in the gap left by traditional air pollution monitoring. Air pollution sensor technology is decreasing in cost and size, meaning it is now tenable to develop low-cost portable air pollution sensors that could be worn by individuals. Online data dashboards will be developed to enable users to interact with the data.

Supplemental Keywords:

Air quality, sensors, open source

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report