An Amsterdam based start-up called TreeWiFi builds birdhouses that measure air pollution and that make the levels of pollution visible through an LED status light. Air quality data is sent to a server where it is analyzed and made public for everyone to see. When the server detects an improvement in air quality, it allows the birdhouse to share it’s internet connection with everyone in the street. Users that connect to the network get tips & tricks on how to improve air quality locally before going online.
Because the units are extremely cheap compared to regular government owned air quality measuring stations, TreeWiFi can be deployed by the hundreds or thousands, generating valuable data about an urban environment. The project started with a grant from the Awesome Foundation Amsterdam in March 2016, since then the team has grown from founder and designer Joris Lam to five in total. TreeWiFi is now looking to raise €6.500 to further support the development of the prototype and to be able to build five units that they can place in the city of Amsterdam for testing.
So far the reactions have been positive from both citizens and press, due to the project’s fun and relatable approach to a subject otherwise hard to bring attention to. In the near future, founder Joris Lam hopes to install at least 500 units in the city of Amsterdam, or other European cities who want to tackle air pollution by gaining insight and raising awareness.