Propose ideas for citizen science sensor to report air quality (win $100,000!).

Your air, your healthHave an idea for a wearable or smartphone sensor to help monitor and report air quality information? This just in….new contest presented by Innocentive, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Health and Human Service:
My Air, My Health: An HHS/EPA Challenge

This is a Theoretical Challenge that requires only a written proposal to be submitted.
The Challenge: How do we connect personal devices for testing and reporting of both air quality and linked physiological data? Such a system would enable not only high-resolution mapping of pollutant concentrations, but also support research and reporting of individual physiological responses related to the pollutant.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Health and Human Service envision a future in which powerful, affordable, and portable sensors provide a rich awareness of environmental quality, moment-to-moment physiological changes, and long-term health outcomes. Health care will be connected to the whole environment, improving diagnosis, treatment, and prevention at all levels.
Solve this InnoCentive Challenge and win. Award: $160,000 USD

The details:
Plans to develop personal devices are required – these must sensitively and frequently measure air quality, along with one or more physiological markers linked to the air quality metric that is measured. The system should be designed with input from a community or target population that would benefit from the solution. A design for a personal integrated system is required, together with a development plan and a proposal for a proof of concept study.

Designs and development plans are required for integrated sensor systems that will detect:

Air pollutants – Particulates or individual chemical species
Physiological markers – Health metrics with a citation-supported link to the proposed air pollutants to be measured

The system should also enable transmission of these data, together with time and location stamps, to a central resource. Existing communication architecture and transmission devices (e.g. cellular handsets and networks) should be used to transmit data.

This Challenge is structured in 2 Phases – 4 awards of $15,000 are available to Phase 1 finalists, and a single award of $100,000 is available for the winner of Phase 2:

Phase 1 – Project Plan (no more than 15 pages, not including appendices that may consist of diagrams/schematics, bibliography, and other supplementary materials)

Propose a plausible link between health outcomes and airborne pollutants (chemical species and/or particulates), and provide evidence to support a plausible and physiologically meaningful relationship between airborne pollutants and physiological metrics in a defined population.
Propose a prototype design and development plan for an integrated multi-sensor and data management system that may be easily worn or carried by individuals within the defined target community/population.
Conceptualize data generation, management (may include processing & on-board storage), and transmission functionality of the device.
Propose a small-scale proof-of-concept study to validate the proposed prototype.
Study design process must include input from the target community/population.

Phase 2 – Proof-of-Concept Pilot Project

Finalists attend an event for feedback, questions, and business/entrepreneurial resources prepared by Challenge sponsors (HHS, ONC, NIEHS, EPA).
Finalists develop the proposed prototype and execute experimental validation of the system to bring together data from personal air quality and physiological monitors, showing how these types of data and sensors can be integrated for practical use by health and environmental agencies, and by individual citizens. Proof-of-concept data must illustrate the accuracy and precision of the raw data and of any processed data produced by the system.

This is a Theoretical Challenge that requires only a written proposal to be submitted. The Challenge award will be contingent upon theoretical evaluation of the proposal by the Seeker. To receive an award, the Solvers will not have to transfer their exclusive IP rights to the Seeker. Instead, they will grant to the Seeker non-exclusive license to practice their solutions.

Solve this InnoCentive Challenge and win. Award: $160,000 USD

Categories: Citizen Science

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About the Author

Darlene Cavalier

Darlene Cavalier

Darlene Cavalier is a Professor at Arizona State University's Center for Engagement and Training, part of the School for the Future of Innovation in Society. Cavalier is the founder of SciStarter. She is also the founder of Science Cheerleader, an organization of more than 300 current and former professional cheerleaders pursuing STEM careers, and a cofounder of ECAST: Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology, a network of universities, science centers, and think tanks that produces public deliberations to enhance science policymaking. She is a founding board member of the Citizen Science Association, a senior advisor at Discover Magazine, a member of the EPA's National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology, and was appointed to the National Academy of Sciences "Designing Citizen Science to Support Science Learning" committee. She is the author of The Science of Cheerleading and co-editor of The Rightful Place of Science: Citizen Science, published by Arizona State University. Darlene holds degrees from Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania and was a high school, college and NBA cheerleader. Darlene lives in Philadelphia with her husband and four children.