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Environment: here comes MONICA, the portable smog-measurement device for bikes and strollers, developed by ENEA

Environment: here comes MONICA, the portable smog-measurement device for bikes and strollers, developed by ENEA

On 8 November 2016, Ecomondo, the international sustainability fair, presented the first portable smog-measurement device that can be mounted on strollers, bikes or scooters. Designed by researchers from the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development – ENEA, it is called MONICA and is a smart multisensory device that monitors personal exposure to pollutants so that users can choose to follow a “greener” alternative path from a smartphone app.

People “walking around town with MONICA (acronym for ‘MONItoraggio Cooperativo della qualità dell’Aria) can measure the level of emissions and share data with other users. ENEA’s smog-tracker was presented by President of ENEA Federico Testa to Minister of the Environment Gian Luca Galletti within H2R - Ecomondo.

MONICA is a 8x12-cm coloured box, containing a sophisticated multisensory system which measures pollutants – carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone – reports, on a smartphone, the numeric exposure indication and shows on the map the location where the measurement was made.

The smog-tracker was developed at ENEA laboratories in Portici by a team of researchers expert in smart integrated sensoristics, e.g. hi-tech electronic noses used in aeronautic industry and volcanic gas monitoring.

In order to develop a fleet of pilot sensors to test in some cities, ENEA has decided to launch, for the first time, a crowdfunding campaign on the ‘Eppela’ (eppela.com) crowdfunding platform where it will be soon possible to support the project. MONICA will be the first step of a campaign of ‘science together with citizens’, citizenscience, which has been already launched in other countries, in particular in Canada and United States.

From a scientific and technological point of view, MONICA is not intended to compete with traditional monitoring systems, but it will pave the way to new additional instruments, in line with European directives which also include the use of mobile devices designed to measure different parameters and to create a more widespread network.

To date, the lab prototype of the smog-tracker costs about 500 euro, but if field tests are successful, the cost would decrease to 100/300 euro.

Further information is available at http://www.enea.it/it.