Project Proposal: Sensing Net

Project Proposal

Motivation (similar to the pitch, describe what problem, research question, or opportunity your project addresses): Air pollution, specifically Methane and Carbon Dioxide destroying the environment.

Related Work (do a quick search to see if other projects have tried to address a similar topic; find 2-3 similar projects):

Idea:  (what you plan to build, who will use it, where it will be used, and why it’s different from existing work):  We plan to build a net structure that may be able to used on buildings, bridges, boats, cars, over hospitals, personal homes.  It will specifically be designed to filter out either carbon dioxide and methane gas.

Impact on people, ethics, environment, culture (1-2 paragraphs):  Carbon Dioxide is a colorless, odorless gas. 0.04% of concentration is the normal level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. With 1 – 1.5% has a slight effect on chemical metabolism after exposure of several hours At 3%, carbon dioxide is weakly narcotic at this level, resulting in deeper breathing, reduced hearing, headaches and an increase in blood pressure and pulse rate. At 4-5%,  breathing becomes deeper and more rapid. Signs of intoxication becomes more evident after 30 minutes exposure. At 5-10% breathing becomes more laborious with headache and loss of judgment. At 10%, when CO2 concentration increases above 10%, unconsciousness will occur in less than one minute. Unless prompt action is taken, further exposure will eventually result in death. (

Methane is also a massive problem, accounting for twenty percent of the total radiative forcing from all the long-lasting global greenhouse gasses. While methane does not last as long as carbon dioxide, it is initially far more devastating due to how effectively it absorbs the heat of the sun. In the first two decades after release, methane is 84 times more potent than CO2.

    There are cities and towns around the Phoenix area that equal up to 72 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent ( Awareness and active implementation of the devices on buildings and structures, vehicles, and personal uses, would actively help minimize the carbon footprint.

Implementation: Create device(s) for sensing and filtering methane and carbon dioxide. Using LCDs and speakers for outputs. These will be installed into large cities or other areas with a high air density of CO2 by being placed on top and between buildings as well as possible on cars and on bridges.

Parts List (a tentative list of components you might use for this project):   Air quality sensors, LCDs, small speakers

Timeline and responsibilities of each group member:

Antonio: Help with research, programming, and designing.

Colin: Help with design, implementation, and programming.

Timothy: Help with the construction of prototypes, effects on the world, and design.

Arturo: Undecided


First week: Additional information collection & drawn concepts

Second week: First prototype ideas & building

Third week: Interaction on environments

Fourth week: Finalizing prototype

Fifth week/ Later: Additional corrections and improvements

Prototype Ideas:

>Large Sensor for buildings and other structures.  Has solar panels to help power it and places the power in storage for building use.

>Medium Sensor for cars, trucks, and boats.

>Small Sensor for personal usage.  Small rechargeable battery for the person to use for home electronics

Inputs: Air quality sensors

Outputs: LCD display, speaker


Bioluminescent Pathfinding


In the age of antroposcene humans leave irreversible footprint on the Earth. However, if we have the power to destroy life, we should have the power to trigger life back to existence. How can we visualize the power of humanity to actuate life?

Related Work:

This startup was intended to fund bioluminescent shop fronts, public spaces, and installations with bacteria found among squid. The bacterium is non-pathogenic and non-toxic. The benefits brought from this bioluminescence were intended for no electrical cost for shop owners as well as a decreasing carbon dioxide emissions. With minor setbacks as longevity of the bacterium, this idea of involving bioluminescence in an urban environment was inspiring for this project.

The above link showcases a naturally occurring bioluminescent environment. Although this cave system would not be considered an urban, nevertheless the encapsulation of space provides social opportunity of housing bioluminescence. This occurrence relates to humanity leaving a footprint on the environment as the cave used to be a railway but once it was dug up, the natural environment took the cave for its own habitat.

The art installation above a replication of bioluminescence that was placed in a harbor. The installation included a quality sensor that tested the pH levels of the water, and changing the colors of the “bio-actuator” for the appropriate value. Green light emissions represented  reasonably “good” conditions and red emissions for considerably “bad” conditions. 

The idea:

The project is a combination of bioluminescence and urban revitalization. Interactive, explorative navigation systems will lead people to circumstantial events: festivals, markets, exhibitions and other social and commercial activities.

Dynamic urban environments and human movements are in intertwined in these spaces to actuate changes to agitated bioluminescent pathways.

Impact of project:

Beyond the direct impact of providing illumination to urban areas, these interactive environment systems would influence and attract people to explore new, familiar places. The involvement of communities exploring new location would create social experience that would become engrained into a cultural growth in urban environment. Thus revitalizing areas lesser traveled otherwise without the embedded system.

Additional effect that may occur are related to the algae being spread throughout urban environments. The algae would require some alternative food source to maintain brightness through its luminous cycle. Regarding consumptions for energy, the algae as well as it’s food resources can become introduced and consumed by other organisms and bacteria. Although the consequences of introducing algae into this ecology are unknown, nevertheless they will create an impact through the urban environment.


An experimental space showcases how life is actuated and changed by human activity. Visitors can experience on-site changes in their environment based upon their movement and current social interactions.

Parts list:

  • Algae Kit
  • Capacitive sensor
  • UV/Light sensor
  • Air Quality sensor
  • Microphones
  • Camera
  • Speakers
  • Motors
  • Processing board

Timeline and milestone:




Loren Benally – Fabrication, Programming
Veronika Volkova – Presentations, Graphics
Ryan Wertz – Electronics
Jacob Sully – Programming, Fabrication and design


Project Proposal

Project by Jackson, Anthony, Chris

Green Billboard Proposal

People like to know specific information on the type of environment that they live in. Billboards have always been an effective way of passing information to a community, therefore they can be used to sense local conditions and display the information on the board. The green billboard is inspired by the idea that people will be more conscious of the environment if they know more about how what they do impacts the world around them.

The board will sense and display information regarding the immediate environment in which it stands. The boards will also be equipped with solar panels and air filtration systems that are self powered and may provide additional power to be used elsewhere in the local environment. This will create a sustainable source of energy and clean air and a great platform for getting important information to society.

Similar projects such as the UTEC billboard, the phone sensing billboard, and the London Clear Channels billboard have explored tailoring content to the immediate environment and creating clean air. The green billboard will add the use of solar panels to create energy and will only display information about environmental issues and conditions. This sets it apart from the other similar projects and expands on the direct impact the board will have on air quality and sustainable energy as well as community awareness of their environment.

The UTEC air purifying billboard has already proven to be effective in its respective setting which leads to the assumption that the air purifying portion of the Green Billboard will also be effective. In addition, the practice of harnessing energy from the sun is tried and tested and will without doubt produce at least enough power to be self-sustaining. Not only does the Green Billboard have a direct impact on local environmental conditions but an indirect impact through the use of pro-sustainability campaigning and awareness. People will see exactly how the billboards are working to clean up the environment and will adjust personal habits and moral standings regarding sustainability. The billboards will attack problems specific to their location and will continuously create clean air and energy.

We plan to implement our billboard in areas or cities that have been dealing with environmental issues. For example, areas that struggle with air quality would highlight that information. Cities that are focusing on waste prevention would display information about waste levels in the area and how they have changed in recent history. The project would start as one billboard but could potentially expand to affect many different urban areas.

The materials that would be required to move forward with our prototype include wood, air quality sensors,  solar panels, a battery, and large LED screens that could display the information in an aesthetically pleasing format.


  • March 29 – finalize the sensor and display elements
  • April 3 to April 12 – acquire parts and start circuit testing
  • April 17 to April 19- adding circuits together
  • April 24 till end of class – adding more sensors to the billboard


Anthony – Focus on Fabrication of Prototype, sensor research

Jackson – Digital Design work and Physical Presentation items

Chris – Project Research, circuit programming, implementation, digital and physical component blending


DIY Seed Kits

Project by Erin, Inez, Ziyi, and Cody

Our motivation is the struggle of growing certain types of plants in the desert. The ground is dry, and pH levels are hard to balance. Similarly, plants are prone to being destroyed by pests, but pesticides have a very harmful impact on the environment.

Is there a way to make plants hardy enough for different environments, while avoiding methods harmful to the ecosystem?

So far, people have used kombucha scoby to balance the pH of a plant environment. It is usually placed on the surface around a plant after it has begun to grow. The downside to this attracts bugs.

Another project in progress is by a company called Pivot Bio. Their research lies in breeding microbes to cover plant seeds and defend it from predators without the use of pesticides, while also yielding healthier fruit. This project is mainly for mass producing farmers, however, and most likely will not be accessible to the average gardener for a while.


We want to make healthy gardening accessible.

In short, we want to make a gardening kit of sorts that provides the basic capabilities of microbe plants without the cost.

The kit would include:

A seed of your choice (most likely a plant that is resistant to more acidic environments)

Starter soil

Biodegradable empty tea bag

Small amount of minced kombucha scoby

All that is required of the person is to combine all of the elements in the tea bag, dampen it with water, and plant the entire thing in the ground.

The scoby should act similarly to the microbial tests of Pivot Bio, but is far cheaper and easy to produce at home. It balances the pH and defends from pests- something that is much more effective when placed into the soil alongside the seed.

For sensing purposes, we will build a pH and soil sensing Arduino setup, with an LCD screen as an output.

Ideally, they will be sold in cheap kits of differing seed types. Additionally, there will be encouragement to try to create your own setup, with emphasis on DIY gardening. The electronic sensors, however, would probably be sold separately or as part of a larger kit.


We are hoping for the impact to be something similar to a gardening culture. People could very easy grow their own food, and do so in a healthy manner for the environment. Kombucha and the scoby production would become far more well known- entire businesses could sprout up for providing people with ingredients to feed their garden. Industries will begin to grasp a feasible replacement for harmful pesticides. Not only will this benefit the environment, but the farmers themselves. Scoby (or microbes) are far cheaper to produce than the massive amount of chemicals needed for large fields. The resulting crop is also healthier, plentiful, and hardier- strengthening future generations of the crop.


The group work will be divided up as follows:


Erin: Documentation and presentation

Cody: Arduino setup

Inez and Ziyi: Scoby supply and visual setup

Project pitch and proposal

In this assignment you will finalize your project idea. This is a 2-part assignment: you will post your project proposal to the blog, and you will pitch your idea in class.

Project pitch (4 minutes in class)
You will have four minutes to pitch your idea to the class. You can use any format you want (slides, skit, poster, video, etc.). Your goal is to convince the class that your project is a good idea. Since you only have 4 minutes, you have to succinctly explain:

  • The project narrative, the big vision, problem or opportunity (one of your storyboards might be a starting point for this)
  • Why your idea is original (show similar work and explain why yours is different)
  • What impact your project will have on people, ethics, environment, culture
  • Your proposed prototype (what you plan to build)

Project proposal
In addition to the pitch, write a more detailed project proposal for the class blog. At the very least, include the following:

  • motivation (similar to the pitch, describe what problem, research question, or opportunity your project addresses)
  • related work (do a quick search to see if other projects have tried to address a similar topic; find 2-3 similar projects)
  • your idea (what you plan to build, who will use it, where it will be used, and why it’s different from existing work)
  • a discussion of the impact your project will have on people, ethics, environment, culture (1-2 paragraphs)
  • implementation (how you plan to implement your idea)
  • parts list (a tentative list of components you might use for this project)
  • timeline and responsibilities of each group member. The timeline must include what milestones you hope to meet each week leading up to the deadline.

Post your project proposal on the class blog under the “project proposal” category.

The proposal posted on the blog is worth 6 points
1 point for describing your project  motivation
1 point for describing related work
1 point for describing your project idea
1 point for including a parts list and implementation details in your proposal
1 point for the the discussion of your project impact
1 point for project timeline and group responsibilities

The in-class pitch is worth 4 points and counts towards your final project grade
4 points for clearly presenting your idea in class