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Brief Published: 8 Dec 2015

CleanSpace: Air-Monitoring App


CleanSpace is a sensor and accompanying app that monitors air quality in the UK, providing users with data on the pollution in their area, and promoting action to improve environmental wellbeing.

The slim, phone-sized sensor measures carbon monoxide – a pollutant that serves as a good indicator of poor air quality. It can be read via the mobile app, which also shares data with other users across the community. As the sensors become more widespread across the UK, a more detailed map will be created that can be updated in real-time for accurate tracking.

Tech entrepreneur and former science minister Paul Drayson, creator of CleanSpace, believes that if the public is better informed on the issue of pollution, they'll be more likely to alter their behaviours and push for regulation change – in a similar way to the recent movement around passive smoking.

To encourage behavioural change among app users (the app is available independently of the sensor), rewards will be given for green travel choices. These include discounts or entry into competitions from partnering companies, such as Abel & Cole or Halfords. The user's activities are identified through a complex algorithm that combines speed with consistency of movement to differentiate between walking, running or cycling. We previously highlighted the future potential for reward systems that encourage positive behaviour in our Sustainable Futures Update: The Consumer of 2030.

As identified in Urban Defence, the rise in pollution, particularly in rapidly growing towns and cities, is an issue of increasing concern for urban dwellers. Already, 40% of Chinese consumers buy products designed to protect them from pollution, demonstrating the potential for new consumer-friendly environmental trackers to help tackle this growing issue. See our blog posts on the Awair, Scarab and Lapka monitors for further examples.