The Green Watch: Crowdsourcing Air Quality Measurements

by on December 8, 2009 at 2:51 pm

green_watch_logo_dec09.jpgYesterday, during a meeting with a number of startups in Paris, we met up with the team behind the Green Watch project. Just like Google collects data from cell phones with GPS chips to aggregate real-time traffic information, this watch measures ozone levels and noise pollution. The watch connects wirelessly to the wearer’s mobile phone and sends updates to Citypulse, an open platform for receiving and storing environmental data. The Green Watch is currently only a prototype and not available for sale.


While it is still an early stage project and mostly meant as a proof of concept, the Green Watch does opens up interesting possibilities. Currently, environmental data is typically collected at a small number of locations. In Paris, for example, only 10 public sensors measure the air quality for the whole city.

green_watch_data.jpgCrowdsourcing the measurement of environmental data could make it possible to create a real-time map of current ozone levels, for example. Through the Citypulse platform, the Green Watch project wants to make this data available for free. Citypulse was developed by the members of Citu, a group of French university labs, startups and government organizations.

How Do You Convince People to Wear These?

Of course, in order to turn this project into a commercial success, the developers would first have to persuade users to buy these devices for completely altruistic reasons. The prototype is also rather bulky. Also, as wrist watches are slowly being displaced by mobile phones, the developers will have to give users a good reason to wear a watch again. Air quality sensors, after all, don’t work very well in trouser pockets.

Disclosure: The author met with the Green Watch team during a lunch that was sponsored by Cap Digital and Invest in France.