WearAQ combines people's subjective perception of their environment with wearable technology and machine learning algorithms to investigate personal agency and responsibility in air quality issues.

What can we do about pollution? It’s such a large issue that we often feel disempowered because it seems like nothing any of us does on our own will have any effect.

We launched the WearAQ project to look at how school children could make sense of these complex issues and to consider how people might combine their innate subjective perception and intuition with wearable technology and machine learning algorithms to investigate air quality issues.

Film documentary on workshop sessions with students from Marner Primary School

We worked with students at the Marner Primary school in Tower Hamlets London to go out into the surrounding neighbourhood, measure air quality both technologically and through their own perceptions, and recorded their subjective experience using low tech wearable devices that catalogued their gestures. This data was compared with measurements from expensive, highly calibrated pollution monitoring equipment and other data like temperature, wind and humidity to look at correlations and contrasts.

This work is just a first step, but it helped show how cutting edge technology and our subjective experience of the city can work together to make us more aware of and have more agency in dealing with complex issues like air quality.

Special thanks to:

  • All the wonderful and enthusiastic students from Marner Primary School who helped explore air quality around their neighbourhood in this project
  • Carol Doherty, Assistant Head / Shine Project Manager of Marner Primary School
  • Usamah Khan, data scientist
  • Mara Balestrini, technical advisor
  • Nurri Kim, filmmaker

WearAQ is a 3 months long OrganiCity funded project.