Giving an animal a phone to tote around and monitor pollution
is one thing, but hooking up a critter to your cellphone sans wires sounds like a much more viable solution to keeping track of filthy
surroundings. UC San Diego's Squirrel -- which sounds an awful lot like a project UC Berkeley was working on
-- is a Bluetooth-enabled, palm-sized sensor that currently measures carbon monoxide and ozone, but eventually will be able to "sample nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide in the air, as well as temperature, barometric pressure, and humidity." After sampling, the device then utilizes a software application dubbed Acorn to allow the user to "see the current pollution alerts through a screensaver
on the cellphone's display." Furthermore, the program can periodically upload the captured data to a public database operated by the "California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), which is funding Squirrel's development." Of course, cleaning up the mess that these monitors will inevitably find is an entirely different matter.