sensor technology

In the broadest definition, a sensor is an electronic component, module, or subsystem whose purpose is to detect events or changes in its environment and send the information to other electronics, frequently a computer processor. A sensor is always used with other electronics, whether as simple as a light or as complex as a computer.


How to measure nuclear radiation? Waag hosted a workshop on how to measure radiation with low-cost sensors.


An improved 2.1 version of the Smart Citizen Kit is now ready for pre-ordering.


Where are we currently in the GammaSense project? In what ways can we measure radiation? And the results of an online survey.


We went to take a look in the Amsterdamse Bos, where the first floating, smart platform of the Amsterdecks project is realized.


What about the various citizens' initiatives to measure air quality in the Netherlands? Stefano Bocconi attended a recent meeting of the RIVM.


The Making Sense-team has published the book 'Citizen Sensing, a toolkit', which describes all methods, lessons and best practices.


On the Wednesday before Xmas, an enthusiastic group of people gathered at the Waag to assemble an air quality sensor, together with the national RIVM institute.


The developers of GammaSense believe that citizens should have at home the tools and means to monitor radiation levels. Immediately, inexpensively and with a fair level of accuracy.


500 Amsterdammers are measuring the water quality in Amsterdam this summer. For this purpose they are equipped with a Waterbox to perform several tests. Together they will chart the water quality in the city.


Why should you measure, when there is nothing to measure? This was the central question at the third meeting in our Making Sense pilot in measuring gamma radiation.


What if you could measure nuclear radiation with the camera in your laptop or smartphone? Living near a nuclear power plant, you might take this opportunity very serious.


Every year at New Year's Eve, a lot of firework is set off to celebrate the coming year. This produces a large amount of particulated matter (PM10/PM2,5). But what we do not know is exactly how much, and how long it takes before it dissappears from our streets.


From a recent Dutch research it shows that households that have a smart meter installed save less energy than was expected.


What if you can combine the experience from the maker movement to create open source hardware and software to map environmental issues that concern citizens everyday? This blog will show you the process of developing a sensor that was designed to answer questions about air quality from an interested community of citizens.



Air quality

The air quality in The Netherlands exceeds European limits. Can a law case help to alter that?


The message that Plume Labs (Paris) started measuring the air quality in London with pigeons also reached the Dutch media in the past days. A great campaign, that makes you wonder if it could be repeated in Amsterdam, where we have some pigeons too.


In the past five years, the broad availability of open hardware tools, the creation of online data sharing platforms, and access to maker spaces have fostered the design of low cost and open source sensors that independent communities of citizens can appropriate to engage in environmental action.


The official Dutch institute that is measuring air quality, RIVM, has made a handy brochure for those interested in measuring air quality themselves, titled 'Meten voor een gezonde stad' (pdf). It explains the role of citizen science and clearly explains what substances have an influence on air quality. It does so in Dutch.


Plume Air Report is an app for iOS and Android, that offers insight in the actual air quality in 150+ countries worldwide.


Our latest initiative involves mapping the waters of Amsterdam, to know if they are suitable as swimwater. During a meeting of Water Republic 2025 at Pakhuis de Zwijger, the project Amsterdecks and the website Liquid Commons were presented for the first time. Martin Risseeuw and Ivo de Kler at Waag developed the website and the corresponding datavisualisation of the water currents in Amsterdam.


In the Amsterdam Smart Citizens Lab, we explore tools and applications to map the world around us.


In February of this year the experiment in Amsterdam with Smart Citizen Kit started, in which citizens could measure the environment at their own location with affordable electronics and sensors and share the results online in real time. Now it is time to draw the conclusions and we have put all our findings in a final report (that includes a summary in English at the end).


On 13 May 2014 we had Hans Berkhout of RIVM as a guest of the Smart Citizen project in Amsterdam.


What are the real levels of air pollution around your home or business? And what about noise pollution? and humidity? Now imagine that you could know them, share instantly and compare with other places in your city, in real time ... How could this information help to improve our environment quality?