Experimenting on Bike Messengers


Bike messengers in Cambridge, England are carrying air pollution sensors around town in a nifty bike-enabled experiment.

Eiman Kanjo, a computer scientist at the University of Cambridge, is in charge of the project that uses cell phones and GPS to upload air-quality information from those roving bands of urban punks with Chrome bags and no brakes. Kanjo told New Scientist,

“They cycle around the city as usual and we receive the data over the cellphone network,” says Kanjo. “We can find out what pollutants people are exposed to and where.”

It’s not clear whether these sensors record the pollutants that bike messengers voluntarily put in their mouths, like cheap beer and cigarettes. Perhaps that’s why Dr. Kanjo is considering using traffic cops in future.