float detectorThe kite-flying tradition that hailed from ancient China has a new lease of life, as it has resulted in a new tool that citizens can use for monitoring air quality all over Beijing. This project is the collaboration between a Chinese graduate student and a graduate student from the US, where it was inspired from the controversy surrounding statistics of China’s air pollution. Known as the “Float Beijing” project, its kites will not only brighten up the sky, but also carry air pollution sensors in addition to colorful LED lights that depict the current levels of air quality. It follows the universal color scheme for sure just like a traffic light, where green stands for good, yellow for moderate, and red for unhealthy. Strangely enough, there is a shade of pink that stands for severely unhealthy.

According to Deren Guler, a Master’s candidate in tangible interaction design at Carnegie Mellon University, “The sensors were pretty easy to mount to the kites. The kites’ flyers helped us with that and we were able to find the best place after a few tests.” I guess this is a way to really know just how clean or polluted Beijing’s air quality is compared to official reports from the government that tend to lean towards the sunny side of things.

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