Real-time In-situ Feedback

As data is collected using participatory sensing, it is important to provide real time feedback to users as to what the sensor readings are. This is to notify the users of the nature of the environment they are in. So for mobile devices carried in a petrochemical processing plant, if users are in a highly polluted or toxic environment they are notified of the conditions and therefore can take necessary actions based on the information sensed and delivered to them in real time. E.g. close a tap or leave an environment or perhaps both.

Aside from the threatening aspect of highly polluted environments, this feature provides a better user-interaction means for the participants and allows them to monitor their immediate environment in real time. Hence it gives the users a better experience, and naturally a real time analysis of the situation is done by the user. For example if a visibly polluting car is nearby or there is fire in the vicinity, the user will realise that the high reading of carbon dioxide is strongly correlated to the visible smoke. Whereas if the gathered data is later viewed and analysed, the user might assume that a particular location is typically a more polluted area.

Currently the real time feedback is done using a set of ten light emitting diodes representing each sensor. The sensor measurements received from the sensors by Robostix are scaled between one and ten, and this number is sent to the appropriate LED board to show the intensity of the reading.

Jenson Taylor 2008-01-25