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3D Printing of coastal protection Reefs

The Albanian coastline has been declining in recent years due to coastal erosion and uncontrolled...

QoAir: A blockchain-based system for heatwave management in urban areas

Every summer in big cities are reported death cases, discomforts or sicknesses, especially in elder people, because of high temperatures for many days in a row. Statistics show an increase in mortality every year and the predictions show it will be on the rise for the coming 50 years. Cities in southern Europe are most exposed, but these hot days and tropical nights are also in increase in western, central and eastern Europe, where people and towns are less accustomed to heat.
To assist the wide urban population and public institutions, the QoAir system is designed in helping: measuring and detecting UHI – Urban Heat Island; raising awareness in decreasing exposure to hot days and nights; and checking other weather parameters such as humidity and air pressure related to heat waves. The idea of the project is to build a network of sensors spread over an urban area to measure UHI.
One way to achieve accurate measurements is to ideally have fast and decentralized information systems, such as one built on the new emerging technology: the blockchain.

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The QoAir system will provide a quick feedback about the situation in the urban area. Even though everyone has a mobile device with temperature prediction, all these results come from measurements done in other conditions such as under shadow, etc. They don't reflect the real degree and the real feel of the heat in urban areas caused of pollution factors. The idea of the QoAir project is to create a network of sensors distributed over an area. These sensors, connected together in the blockchain network, will measure the temperature increase of the area where they reside.

TRL4. Laboratory testing of prototype component or process
Technology validated in lab. Basic technological components are integrated to establish that they will work together. This is relatively “low fidelity” compared with the eventual system. Examples include integration of “ad hoc” hardware in the laboratory. The project is comprised of two parts: (1) software development, and (2) hardware integration. The first part is in development phase, and for the second part we need the proper hardware, which in the meantime is replaced with synthetically generated data.

See more information about this level and the TRL and SRL levels.

The main components of the system have been tested separately, and an initial integration exercise has been conducted.

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How does it work?

QoAir is a blockchain-based solution to measure heat in urban areas via a network of connected sensors. In case a heat-wave is detected a trigger will be generated and sent to a governmental institution which will then follow their respective guidelines to raise awareness and prepare the population with the right countermeasures. Here comes in hand a new technology, a distributed database made up of blocks of data connected with each other in a hashed form: the blockchain. This component will contribute to greater stakeholder involvement, transparency and engagement and help bring trust and further innovative solutions, since it can be later integrated with other systems.

Limitations/conditions under which this innovation does not work or is less effective

Using a blockchain-based system for environmental monitoring is still a new field of study and we are aware of the challenges that it faces. Since raw data gathered by the sensors is not useful to the users it needs to be synthesized further in order to be more compact and user-friendly. This is another issue we will deal in this project in order to raise the acceptability level of its implementation.

Added value
The main feature of a blockchain-based solution is that it cannot be corrupted. The biggest advantage is its transparency and the security of shared information within it. According to Anna Poberezhna, founder of the London-based startup Smart4Tech that works on water rights trading applications, “it is a technology that allows you to do things cheaper, faster and better”. These qualities will revolutionize the way air pollution is tracked. Being a user of QoAir is a win-win situation for every party involved in the system. It is easy to manage, is not invasive, requires only a device which we all would want to have for our own benefit. Also. providing our data to the community, everyone will benefit in managing in advance one of the main weather hazards of the future.

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