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EPA, NIH Announce Finalists of Air Pollution Sensor Challenge

WASHINGTON -- Four individuals and teams have been selected for the final phase of the My Air, My Health Challenge, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The challenge, announced in June, was created to encourage the development of portable devices that gather and integrate health and air quality data to help protect people’s health and make environmental information more accessible. 

“We’re excited by the strength of the winning solutions,” said Denice Shaw, associate chief innovation officer in EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “These portable air and health monitors have the potential to strengthen environmental research and help protect people’s health in communities across the country.”

Individuals and teams have submitted designs for sensors that can be easily worn or carried and take into account the link between airborne pollutants and health measurements, such as heart rate and breathing.

The finalists are:

•    Guy Shechter, Mark Aloia, Johan Marra, Arpana Sali, Ronald Wolf, (Andover, Mass. for Philips Healthcare): Ultra-fine particle sensing devices that also measure respiratory function and vital signs.

•    Michael Heimbinder (Brooklyn, N.Y., for HabitatMap), Michael Taylor (Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg, Pa.), Carlos Restrepo (New York University,Manhattan, N.Y.), and George D. Thurston (NYU,Manhattan, N.Y.): Mobile application and website to link exposures to carbon monoxide and fine particulate matter with heart rates and blood oxygen levels.

•    Gabrielle Dockterman (Carlisle, Mass.), David Kuller (Milan, Italy), and Dot Kelly (Darien, Conn.): “Smart” athletic clothing that measures airborne pollutants and relevant health metrics.

•    Aaron Hechmer (El Cerrito, Calif.): Integrated modular air quality sensors, breathing games, and a software package that promote public sharing of health information.

In addition, Rajiv Totlani of Frisco, Texas, and Peter Sotory of Raleigh, N.C., were selected as honorable mentions.

Each finalist will receive $15,000, and will transform their designs into working systems to measure air pollutants and related physiological measurements. One overall winner will receive a cash award of $100,000 to be announced in June 2013.     

More information on the My Air, My Health Challenge: http://epa.gov/research/challenges

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