19 September 2017

New Living Environment Innovation Lab measures air quality at Utrecht Science Park

Thanks to the rapid pace of innovation in the field of inexpensive sensors, ICT and Big Data, we will soon be able to measure and interpret our living environment in a radically different way. In order to accelerate this development, the RIVM, Utrecht University and the Utrecht Science Park Foundation will soon open the USP Innovatielab Leefomgeving (Living Environment Innovation Lab). Together with partners TNO, Luchtradar and JCDecaux, the first Living Lab Air will begin on 19 September as an innovative and fine-meshed sensor network to measure the current air quality.

This sensor network will consist of around 20 sensors spread across the Utrecht Science Park. The information provided by the latest generation of sensors will be collected and validated via the 4G network. The platform LivingLabAir.nl will then display the measurement data in real-time, making it possible for visitors and residents to obtain accurate information about the current air quality levels. This information can in turn be used to indicate the cleanest routes, to identify concentration peaks during rush hour, and to justify mobility policies.

With these new technologies, researchers, government agencies and citizens will be better able to map out air quality.

Exploring new ideas together 

But the lab’s ambitions go much further. The USP Innovatielab Leefomgeving will connect a broad community of scientists, students and residents at the Utrecht Science Park in order to test or explore new ideas in open innovation or small pilot projects. Their results can then be used in other urban or rural areas. In so doing, the Innovatielab aims to act as a motor for improving the health of the living environment.

“This innovation lab offers a testbed for new technologies for measuring the environment and related health effects”, says Roel Vermeulen, researcher at the IRAS (UU, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine) and affiliated with the Innovatielab. “With these new technologies, researchers, government agencies and citizens will be better able to map out air quality. They will allow us to collect scientific knowledge in order to implement new policies and interventions, while at the same time contributing to the social debate about our living environment.”

Health in the living environment

The USP Innovatielab Leefomgeving will offer a broad, easily accessible experimentation facility for new technology related to health and the living environment. Its infrastructure and technology can be used to set up experiments dealing with the application of environmental sensors, combining them with monitoring of health parameters, ‘citizen science’ projects, smart Big Data applications and the development of apps for the living environment.



16:30 USP Cafe open  
17:00 Opening speech by Jan Henk van der Velden (Director of Utrecht Science Park)
17:05 USP Innovatielab Leefomgeving: policy relevance for the RIVM
by Els van Schie (Director of Environment & Safety, RIVM)
17:10 USP Innovatielab Leefomgeving: collaboration in Living Labs,
by Anton Pijpers (Vice President of the Executive Board, Utrecht University)
17:15 Urban vision of a healthy and sustainable city
by Lot van Hooijdonk (Alderman for Transport, Mobility, Sustainability and Environment, City of Utrecht)
17:25 Official opening of USP Innovatielab Leefomgeving
17:35-18:30 Reception