Keeping the Noise Down

Posted: October 2015
Vicky Shipton explores the unknown dangers in our cities and the Smart technologies to keep us safe.
Keeping the Noise Down
Keeping the noise down: autonomous sensors

Are cities killing us - 3,300 deaths a year from noise – the non-silent killer!

A study from World Health Organisation found that long-term exposure to noise may account for 3% of deaths associated with heart disease and stress. How can this be true? Noise keeps our bodies on alert, continually producing stress hormones even while we are sleeping. This continued level of stress contributes to heart attacks and strokes.Noise pollution has direct impact on young people too. Excessive noise has been attributed to lower academic achievement. We know noise impacts our lives but how can we monitor real-time noise pollution in order to control that pollution?

The new urban world

The world’s population is living in more urban areas – over half of people now reside in cities. The UK is even more extreme with 82% of the population living in urban areas.  Cities are becoming the norm for where we live but how can we ensure the environment is suitable and even more importantly safe? Monitoring air, water, land and noise pollution in the environment, is the first step towards controlling these factors which have a direct impact on our standard of living and quality of life.  Will the Internet of Things be able to deliver a workable solution for a “smart, pollution-free city”?

Hearing the solution

Polysolar Ltd has been working with the University of Warwick and Sentec Ltd to create a commercially-viable, easily integrated family of autonomous pollution sensors – Solar Owls.  The first to be developed is the Solar Owl: Noise pollution sensor – Solar Owl: Sound provides real-time data on noise levels outdoors, without ever requiring maintenance.

The Solar Owl: incorporates a solar powered sound sensor and transmitter. Designed to wrap around lamp posts or street signs, it can be mounted anywhere - just click and connect, without the need for an external power source.  Providing full coverage of a city is simple and cost effective, each Solar Owl: Sound covers an area of up to 200 meters. An integrated microphone monitors the noise level. The Solar Owl: Sound’s ISM band wireless system relays the time, location and level to a data aggregator. It uses standards-based wireless technology which is now realising cost and power targets. Solar Owls work all day and night because of its unique solar powered battery control system designed by Polysolar in collaboration with the University of Warwick, and supported by funding from Innovate UK. The autonomous sound sensor utilises innovative algorithms to control the power management, data collection and transmission, to ensure a fool proof sensor system which will be maintenance free for over ten years. The partners are working to deploy the system in London for the Greater London Authority.

Making our cities smart one lamp post at a time

The Solar Owl: Sound is an economical solution which will make our cities “sound smart”. It will provide local governments with real-time actionable noise data. The cost of each Solar Owl: Sound is less than $20 making city-wide installation a viable solution for monitoring the sound pollution in a city. “This project has delivered autonomous sensors, ready for deployment to collect new kinds of data for smart cities applications, but the real innovation will come when we learn the best in ways in which to use and learn from the information itself - from optimising traffic flow, to security, the possibilities are very exciting.” Joanna Slota-Newson, Ph.D., Polysolar, Chief Technology Officer

"This collaboration adds to Sentec's pioneering record in autonomous sensors, whether for current sensing, flow metering and now in noise monitoring. The product specifications show that pervasive sensors like these are commercially viable. Ultimately a granular noise map of a city is a new prism for decision makers and it's exactly sensors like this, deployed at sufficient density, which will enable the kind of analysis and decisions which can improve the quality of life for city dwellers." said Edward Taylor, Sentec’s lead on autonomous sensors.

Even Smarter

The autonomous sensor platform technology built for the noise sensor will support the Solar Owl’s extended family of smart city products which will include pollution and traffic sensors. The anticipation of a better quality of life promised from the Internet of Things is becoming a reality with the Solar Owls.  This easy integrated product will create the smart cities of the future - today.
Keeping the noise down: autonomous sensors

Are cities killing us - 3,300 deaths a year from noise – the non-silent killer!

A study from World Health Organisation found that long-term exposure to noise may account for 3% of deaths associated with heart disease and stress. How can this be true? Noise keeps our bodies on alert, continually producing stress hormones even while we are sleeping. This continued level of stress contributes to heart attacks and strokes.Noise pollution has direct impact on young people too. Excessive noise has been attributed to lower academic achievement. We know noise impacts our lives but how can we monitor real-time noise pollution in order to control that pollution?

The new urban world

The world’s population is living in more urban areas – over half of people now reside in cities. The UK is even more extreme with 82% of the population living in urban areas.  Cities are becoming the norm for where we live but how can we ensure the environment is suitable and even more importantly safe? Monitoring air, water, land and noise pollution in the environment, is the first step towards controlling these factors which have a direct impact on our standard of living and quality of life.  Will the Internet of Things be able to deliver a workable solution for a “smart, pollution-free city”?

Hearing the solution

Polysolar Ltd has been working with the University of Warwick and Sentec Ltd to create a commercially-viable, easily integrated family of autonomous pollution sensors – Solar Owls.  The first to be developed is the Solar Owl: Noise pollution sensor – Solar Owl: Sound provides real-time data on noise levels outdoors, without ever requiring maintenance.

The Solar Owl: incorporates a solar powered sound sensor and transmitter. Designed to wrap around lamp posts or street signs, it can be mounted anywhere - just click and connect, without the need for an external power source.  Providing full coverage of a city is simple and cost effective, each Solar Owl: Sound covers an area of up to 200 meters. An integrated microphone monitors the noise level. The Solar Owl: Sound’s ISM band wireless system relays the time, location and level to a data aggregator. It uses standards-based wireless technology which is now realising cost and power targets. Solar Owls work all day and night because of its unique solar powered battery control system designed by Polysolar in collaboration with the University of Warwick, and supported by funding from Innovate UK. The autonomous sound sensor utilises innovative algorithms to control the power management, data collection and transmission, to ensure a fool proof sensor system which will be maintenance free for over ten years. The partners are working to deploy the system in London for the Greater London Authority.

Making our cities smart one lamp post at a time

The Solar Owl: Sound is an economical solution which will make our cities “sound smart”. It will provide local governments with real-time actionable noise data. The cost of each Solar Owl: Sound is less than $20 making city-wide installation a viable solution for monitoring the sound pollution in a city. “This project has delivered autonomous sensors, ready for deployment to collect new kinds of data for smart cities applications, but the real innovation will come when we learn the best in ways in which to use and learn from the information itself - from optimising traffic flow, to security, the possibilities are very exciting.” Joanna Slota-Newson, Ph.D., Polysolar, Chief Technology Officer

"This collaboration adds to Sentec's pioneering record in autonomous sensors, whether for current sensing, flow metering and now in noise monitoring. The product specifications show that pervasive sensors like these are commercially viable. Ultimately a granular noise map of a city is a new prism for decision makers and it's exactly sensors like this, deployed at sufficient density, which will enable the kind of analysis and decisions which can improve the quality of life for city dwellers." said Edward Taylor, Sentec’s lead on autonomous sensors.

Even Smarter

The autonomous sensor platform technology built for the noise sensor will support the Solar Owl’s extended family of smart city products which will include pollution and traffic sensors. The anticipation of a better quality of life promised from the Internet of Things is becoming a reality with the Solar Owls.  This easy integrated product will create the smart cities of the future - today.