Air pollution personal devices developed

Nov. 16, 2012 at 12:40 AM   |   Comments

BETHESDA, Md., Nov. 16 (UPI) -- The National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency selected four finalists for designs to measure air pollutants, officials say.

In addition to NIH's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the EPA and National Coordinator for Health Information Technology said the competition was created to spur the development of personal devices used to gather and integrate health and air quality data that is usable and meaningful to long-term health outcomes.

Each finalist will receive $15,000 and will transform their designs to measure air pollutants and related physiological measurements into working systems. However, one overall winner will receive a cash award of $100,000, to be announced next June.

Since the announcement of the challenge in June, individuals and teams have submitted designs for wearable sensors that take into account the possible links between airborne pollutants and health measurements, such as heart rate and breathing. This first phase of the challenge attracted more than 500 participants and dozens of solution submissions, the agencies said.

"Now comes the exciting part, where ideas are turned into working prototypes," David Balshaw, NIEHS program administrator, said in a statement. "The hope for these kinds of devices is that researchers, communities, and physicians can ultimately better understand the connection between environmental exposures and health."

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