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

Graphene sandwich turns water square

27 March 2015 Research

news image

Water trapped between graphene sheets transformed into new type of ice

Simple cooking changes make healthier rice

23 March 2015 Research

news image

Adding oil to water, cooling and reheating rice makes fibre-like resistant starch, reducing calories

Most Commented

Sewage offers attractive source of precious metals

27 March 2015 Research

news image

US Geological Survey team finds valuable metals in treated sewage and is working on the difficult problem of extraction

Thinking ahead

26 March 2015 Critical Point

news image

PhD courses must prepare students for a life after research, says Mark Peplow