The Array of Things (AoT) is an urban sensing project made up of a network of interactive, modular sensor boxes that will be installed around Chicago to collect real-time data on the city’s environment, infrastructure, and activity for research and public use. The project is a collaboration between the University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
How it works
500 sensors will be installed around the city by the end of 2018, tracking information on urban conditions. The first 42 sensors will be installed in late July on traffic poles and buildings in the Loop and other neighborhoods.
It will track things such as temperature, barometric pressure, light, vibration, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, ambient sound intensity, pedestrian and vehicle traffic, and surface temperature.
What it will do
This has the potential to allow researchers, policymakers, developers and residents to make Chicago healthier, more efficient and more livable. The data could help make Chicago a “smart city” and allow the City to operate more efficiently and realize cost savings by anticipating and proactively addressing potential problems like urban flooding.
All data collected by AoT will be open, free, and available to the public. The nodes will transmit data to a secure central database server at Argonne National Laboratory. Raw data will also be posted to the City of Chicago’s open data network and Plenario, a web-based portal.
How it affects us
This array will be able to see faces and cars moving through traffic. It’s not clear whether the array will use our cell phones to track us.
An example of some uses of the data are to suggest safe and efficient routes for walking late at night or for timing traffic lights during peak traffic hours to improve pedestrian safety and reduce congestion-related pollution.
It sounds pretty cool as long as the info isn’t abused in any way by the participants, the government and the public.