Inria announced in July the launching of SoundCity, a mobile application to measure your personal exposure to noise pollution. The project is supported by the City of Paris smart city initiative and Bernard Jomier, deputy mayor responsible for health, disability, and relations with Paris public hospital system.
Noise pollution, which lowers quality of life and harms health, is a serious environmental challenge in almost every major city. The noise levels found in most cities today can interfere with memory and learning, disturb sleep, and contribute to heart disease. In Paris, the urban ecology agency and the Bruitparif association currently rely on monitoring stations and computer simulations to understand noise exposure of citizens. SoundCity aims to complement these data with personal sound level exposure measurements collected with smartphones. SoundCity will also help citizens be more aware and engaged with noise in their environments.
A personal exposure technology to understand exposure and risk; a collective exposure technology for healthier cities
SoundCity captures noise levels from the microphones built into today’s smartphones, with the dual objective of assessing the degree of exposure of the individual user and building an overall map of noise pollution in the city.
The smartphone user will see their exposure visualized over the past minutes, days, and months and will be able to compare the exposure with the levels recommended to protect health. Users can also take measures manually, when they want to know the noise levels in particular environment. In the near future, the SoundCity app will integrate data from smart watches with biosensors so that users can see how ambient noise may be affecting their heart rate or other measures of stress
The data collected by SoundCity will benefit all Paris residents. Using anonymous data shared voluntarily by users, SoundCity will be able to build a better map of noise pollution for Paris, and, as the use grows, other large cities worldwide. Combining personal noise exposure from citizens in their own environment with the ambient data from monitors operated by government will lead to a more complete understanding of the problems of urban noise and help health and environmental agencies focus their actions.
The intelligent mobile city: Towards a more sustainable environment and society
In the belief that the city of tomorrow is designed today, Inria researchers are currently working on the following topics:
- Use and exploitation of urban environmental measurements (air quality, noise pollution, transport, etc.).
- Analysis of big data for urban planning, traffic management, and personal mobility.
- Wireless communications, sensor networks, optimization of communications, and urban networks.
- Data property, privacy and security.
- Sharing urban data and the involvement of citizens.
- New mobility solutions (robotic and independent systems)
The SoundCity Team
SoundCity has been developed by the UrbanCivics project, which is part of the Inria CityLab initiative that is dedicated to smart cities and aims at transatlantic projects. UrbanCivics is a collaboration between the Inria MiMove and Clime project teams in the Inria Paris – Rocquencourt research center, the French start-up company Ambientic, and the Civic Engine (USA). The aim of UrbanCivics is to develop platforms to improve and facilitate the engagement of citizens in understanding the urban environment by means of the large-scale collection of relevant data
SoundCity in practice
– Available from the Google Play Store: Search for [SoundCity], or from the URL: http://tiny.cc/soundcity
– Free application
– For more information, see:http://urbancivics.com/, @SoundCityApp on Twitter, or Facebook.com/SoundCityApp