A team of students at the American University of Sharjah (AUS), who invented a device that can read and map pollution levels citywide, plan to sell their idea to the UAE authorities – followed by the rest of the world.
The PolluMap can measure the amount and type of pollutants in the air over different areas of a city and immediately send the results through satellite to an internet server, which then updates, in real time, an online city map, said the team on Sunday at the Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa after winning the Microsoft Imagine Cup Regional Finals, a science competition between six Gulf finalists.
Apart from actual figures, the differences in toxicity appear in various shades on the map, to show the extent of environmental damage or threat. The map also tracks developments over time and gives pollution forecasts.
“We will talk to UAE authorities to put the device on public buses, for example, so that ordinary people can ‘see’ how polluted our cities are – and officials can do something about it,” said Ahmed Wasfy, a team member.
“All we need now is sponsors to take this idea forward. Each device costs around Dh3, 600, but I’m sure the cost per unit will collapse if we reach mass production,” said Ammar Sawas, another student on the project.
It took the AUS team three months to complete the assignment, which was supervised by Dr. Fadi Aloul, assistant professor at the university’s department of computer engineering.
Walid Hanna, CEO of Arab Business Angles Network, who was one of the judges, said, “It is a simple yet genius concept with a global application. It’s cheap and scalable.”
Meanwhile, each contestant was given an Xbox 360 gaming console. There were three UAE finalists in addition to student groups from Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman.