Thanks to the Daily Good for this great article. Following the Chinese governments moves to block public reporting of air pollution levels in Beijing, two masters students are launching a grassroots project for citizens to send up their own pollution monitoring kites. Kites come equipped with simple pollution sensors and the ability to upload the data to the net, as well as a storage card for manual upload in case the kites get blocked. Coloured LED lights will glow red, yellow and blue to indicate pollution levels, flashing like stars in the night sky.
The project isn’t fully funded yet, so get over to Kick Starter if you are interested. You can get involved for only $5.
I like the initiative for a number of reasons. I like the creativity and the visual element, Kites with flashing sensors in the smog filled sky create a powerful image. I also like the low tech launch, it’s easy to get involved and they haven’t figured out exactly how they are going to use the data. They just want to do something, and are going with a simple prototype that gets something happening. It’s also very brave. It’s easy to sit out here in the west thinking about kite flying social protest in Beijing. I’ll bet it’s quite another to be openly defying the government whilst living there. More power to them.