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Ugandan Researchers Develop Low-cost Air Quality Monitoring Sensors that Work in Extreme Conditions

This will allow Uganda to switch from expensive imported monitors in its bid to tackle rising air pollution. Engineer Bainomugisha, who leads the research at Makerere University in Kampala, said the team had been motivated by the growing death toll caused by air pollution around the world. The AirQo air quality monitoring project, which is partly funded by Google, relies on a network of sensors, which cost $150 a piece, to gather air quality data around Kampala. Using artificial intelligence technology and machine learning, this data is then processed before it is uploaded onto a cloud-based service accessible to consumers and the public via a smart phone application. Bainomugisha said AirQo’s monitoring devices are installed around the city including in schools, residential areas, and on motorbike taxis. Designed to withstand conditions including extreme heat and dust, the devices are powered both by electricity from the grid and solar power to allow them to operate when power supplies are interrupted, he said.