Other Interdisciplinary Collaborations

Detroit AirNet STEAM Challenge (WSU STEAM Challenge Winner)

Hector Esparra-Escalera*, Allison Lucas*, and Brendan O'Leary*, Allison Diehl, Dimitrios Kakaris, and Rachel Akers.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are pervasive air pollutants in urban environments that contribute to a wide range of acute and long-term health issues. VOC exposures is linked to the increase of pre-term birth rates, which has risen to 15.3% in the city of Detroit. Currently, there is only one location that monitors Detroit’s ambient VOC concentration as part of the National Ambient Air Quality Standard. Given the local variations in urban air quality, there is a void in the available data on VOC concentrations.

The Detroit AirNet team addresses this data need in order to assist local communities by implementing low cost and high-quality VOC air sensors (SPods). The team is building SPods at Wayne State University, where students and faculty can provide the physical and technical expertise for community groups interested in analyzing air quality data. Detroit AirNet partners with volunteers and community members to mount the sensors in community-defined zones of concern, and subsequently provide extensive monitoring of air quality in the city. This information will provide a platform to inform and guide urban planning and policy decisions, on behalf of the impacted communities.

*T-RUST student

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Detroit Airnet made it to the 2020 STEAM Final Pitch! To learn more about the finalists visit STEAMChallenge.wayne.edu