Smartphones as environmental sensors


A new project, dubbed Exposomics, intends to monitor personal exposure to pollutants by giving thousands of participants mobile phones equiped with environmental sensors and GPS to log locations. These data will then be supplemented with blood and urine analysis to detect the chemical fingerprints left behind.

The project, led by Imperial College London, UK, and also involving 12 partner institutions is one of two projects that have won a combined €17.3 million (£14 million) grant from the European commission to study the ‘exposome’ – the total environmental components that influence health. The second project, called Human Early-Life Exposome, or HELIX, will focus on children and pregnant women and will also combine the use of smartphones and laboratory tests. As genomic studies have failed to provide a comprehensive link between genetic variations and diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease, it is hoped that the two exposomic projects will help to uncover environmental triggers for illnesses.


Related Content

Science at your fingertips

27 February 2014 Premium contentFeature

news image

Will the rise of smartphones revolutionise chemistry? Sarah Houlton finds out

Self-cleaning sensors see the light

23 January 2015 Research

news image

Overcoming electrode fouling in biomedical and environmental detectors

Most Read

New explosive is powerful but greener than most

30 June 2015 Research

news image

Researchers have made one of the most powerful non-nuclear explosives to date

First pictures of hydrogen bonds unveiled

26 September 2013 Research

news image

Observation of intermolecular interactions in quinolines could help to settle the nature of this kind of bonding

Most Commented

Collaboration, not competition

29 June 2015 Research

news image

Organic chemist E J Corey talks to Phillip Broadwith about awards, ambition and academic freedom

Z machine puts the squeeze on metallic deuterium

25 June 2015 Research

news image

Pressures similar to those at centre of the Earth forge metallic deuterium in step toward 80-year-old dream of creating metal...