Mumbai: Amidst the deteriorating levels of air pollution in cities across India, especially in the national capital, a group of students from Bharti Vidyapeeth College of Engineering in Delhi have developed a mobile application to determine the quality of air anywhere across India. The undergraduate engineering students Tanmay Srivastava, Kanishk Jeet and Prerna Khanna jointly won the cash prize of $1500 (Rs 1,09,500) last week at the Marconi Society Awards organised in India and sponsored by the US-based Marconi Society under its Celestini Programme. The programme aims at encouraging young professionals to use technology to create social and economic transformation.
Known as the ‘Air Cognizer’, the app is inexpensive, portable and shows real-time air quality index (AQI). All one has to do is take a picture of the outdoor making sure the sky is included. The application uses geo-tagging to determine the current meteorological data of the nearest weather monitoring station. As soon as the image is uploaded on the app, the AQI levels for user’s location appears. The AQI levels, from ‘good to severe category’ also pops up on the screen for the user to know how bad or good the air quality he/she breathes is. Users are also warned about the adverse effects of air around them through breakdown of polluting contents like particulate matter (PM) 2.5.
Through this app anyone can access the air quality and decide the course of action. It can be very helpful to patients with respiratory problems as the app uses government marked AQI – 0 to 500 – and indicated the actual concentration along with the AQI. The patients, can thus, avoid venturing out if the air quality is not good or satisfactory.
Air Cognizer is simple to use and free and will prove to be very useful for citizens in cities like Delhi, where air pollution is particularly acute now, the Marconi Society said in a press statement.
Using image processing techniques, features are extracted, and the machine learning model estimates the Air Quality Index (AQI) levels for the user’s location. The machine learning model is deployed on smartphones using Tensorflow Lite and Machine Learning (ML) Kit from Google.
To see how effective the app is, NDTV tested it in Mumbai on November 6, one day before Diwali and found the air quality index to be at 163 which falls in the ‘moderate’ category. The health impact under ‘Moderate’ category would mean breathing discomfort to the people with lungs, asthma and heart diseases.
The app is currently available only on android smartphones and can be used anywhere in the country. It took the team five months to develop the app, beta version of which can be downloaded from Google play store.
Divyam Madaan and Radhika Dua of the Chandigarh-based University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET) won the second prize for designing a website that forecasts air pollution levels in Delhi over the next 24 hours. The website, using Google Cloud platform, predicts the major pollutant and its causes,such as vehicular traffic, industry emissions or agricultural waste in every location based on historical data.
With inputs from agencies
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