5G Technology to Help Curb Rising Air Pollution Levels

Researchers from University of Helsinki have developed a digital model for tracking the air quality, allowing cities to implement strategies to curb increasing air pollutants. Air pollution leads to millions of unnecessary premature deaths, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). At a meeting in Shanghai, researchers from the University of Helsinki presented a collaborative digital model, ”5G air quality observation model”, the mobile MegaSense, which will make it possible to plan cities in a way that is durable from a climate perspective.

MegaSense: Utilizing the Net­work of SMEAR Sta­tions

The MegaSense model utilizes a network for measuring the interaction between the earth’s surface and the atmosphere that was created by academician Markku Kulmala at the University of Helsinki. The network consists of SMEAR stations (SMEAR = Station for Measuring Earth surface - Atmosphere Relations), which record data on small particles, greenhouse gases, air chemistry, soil, and interactions between all of these. Such stations already exist in Finland, Estonia and China.

At the start of 2018, he made case to the international research community that they need ongoing, multi-faceted tracking of the interactions between the earth’s surface and the atmosphere. The idea is to establish a unified network of observatories. With a thousand top-level stations, this worldwide tracking of climate change would be sufficient, according to calculations.

Real-time Ob­ser­va­tion Sys­tem Us­ing 5G and Sensor Tech­no­logy

The purpose of the MegaSense model on display in China was to create a real-time observation system for the world that provides precise information about air quality and harmful substances in the air. The data can be utilized not just in city planning, but also in various different devices in cars, at home, and in offices. This is made possible by the online calibration of the measuring devices via SMEAR stations, by the University of Helsinki’s geographical information capabilities – involving such processes as data transfer via satellite – and by a smart 5G mobile network developed in Finland.

In­nov­a­tion fund­ing for Urban­Sense

In Finland, the corresponding real-time 5G air quality tracking network received innovation funding from the City of Helsinki. In addition to 5G, another focus of the research at the university is the precise, real-time tracking of air quality using new sensor technology. This project goes by the name UrbanSense.

The MegaSense collaboration is led by computer science professor Sasu Tarkoma. The atmosphere is measured by SMEAR stations on the map.

Click here to read the published paper.