Want to do something about pollution in our water and air? Carnegie Mellon's CREATE Lab is working on a few interesting solutions to the problem of localizing pollution data with a trio of devices aimed at making the process accessible and affordable for regular people. First up is AirBot, a "particle counting robot" that monitors pollutants that can contribute to breathing problems like asthma. Aimed at a $99 price point, the little black boxes are portable enough to bring around with you, so you can, say, compare the air quality in areas when apartment hunting. The lab has made six prototype devices (one of which was on-hand during our visit), and is aiming to bring them to market next year.
WaterBot, meanwhile, is set to bring the solution to streams near you. Stick one end in a body of water near your home and it will upload water purity information to the web via a built-in ZigBee module. CREATE's also cooked up the CATTFish, a method for recording such information in your home via, yes, your toilet. Dip one end in the reservoir and the box on top of the tank, and it will give you a reading of the cleanliness of the water being used to refill. That information can then be uploaded to the web via a USB port. The lab is shooting for a $50 price tag on the device.
The big thing here is the ability to let the community take its own readings to build a bigger picture of water and are purity levels through online applications. More information on all of the above devices can be found in the video below.