Air Pollution Data Collection Cycling Bottle

We want to raise awareness of air pollution among city dwellers by motivating cyclists to collect local air quality data while cycling through the city. The aspern.mobil LAB’s DIY tool Pocobo can easily be carried around in a bottle cage and measures particulate matter levels while cycling.

In addition to PM10 and PM2.5 particulate matter concentrations, CO2 and volatile organic compounds are also recorded. Furthermore, the device has a GPS module and offers the possibility to transmit the data wirelessly via the mobile phone network to our server, where they are stored, processed and analysed. Pocobo records this data anonymously: particularly when recording the position, great importance was attached to privacy-by-design. This means that the beginning and the end of a recorded path are not transmitted.

The developed prototype of the bicycle air quality sensor functions as a feasibility study to explore the possibilities and pitfalls of mobile air quality monitoring by cyclists as a citizen science project. We are happy to provide the instructions for rebuilding the sensor.

Pocobo Sensor im Flaschenhalter des Fahrrads montiert

© aspern.mobil LAB

The design process followed a user-centred design approach, the most important feature of which is the continuous involvement of potential end-users.

At every step of the design process, users were involved in shaping the physical form of the device itself, as well as the interaction with the probe and the connected online services.

The device itself was designed to fit into a standard bottle holder – an idea put forward by an interview participant during the initial design phase. The resulting design allows the probe to be mounted on most – if not all – bicycles. Many bicycles are already equipped with bottle cages or at least have mounting holes prepared for this purpose. Even in the event that a bicycle does not have the appropriate mountings, there are solutions that allow a bottle cage to be fitted in all possible positions without the need for any modifications to the bicycle.

The attachment and position of a water bottle on the bicycle follows a well-tested concept, so that it is relatively easy to ensure that the probe does not become a disturbing factor for the cyclists. At the same time, the solution also allows for a stable attachment as well as easy, quick removal – two aspects that users mentioned as prerequisites for good usability.

Innenleben des Pocobo Sensors

© aspern.mobil LAB

The collection of localised air quality data by a large number of urban cyclists will subsequently allow the data to be used for a variety of purposes. The information can be made available to the public in the form of a digital city map showing the air quality in an area at a given time. Or the data can be used to assess the impact of air pollution on individual cyclists on their daily journeys and allow them to plan their route depending on the expected pollution.

Through our approach, we hope to raise awareness of the importance of air pollution and encourage people to change their personal habits towards a sustainable mobility.