Hacker Science

Some background to projects developing environmental monitoring infrastructure through social innovation.



“Safecast is a global project working to empower people with data, primarily by mapping radiation levels and building a sensor network, enabling people to both contribute and freely use the data collected. After the 3/11 earthquake and resulting nuclear situation at Fukushima Diachi it became clear that people wanted more data than what was available. Through joint efforts with partners such as International Medcom, Keio University, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and GlobalGiving, Safecast has been building a radiation sensor network comprised of static and mobile sensors actively being deployed around Japan – both near the exclusion zone and elsewhere in the country.”


Smart Citizen

“Smart Citizen is a platform to generate participatory processes of people in the cities. Connecting data, people and knowledge, the objective of the platform is to serve as a node for building productive and open indicators, and distributed tools, and thereafter the collective construction of the city for its own inhabitants.

The Smart Citizen project is based on geolocation, Internet and free hardware and software for data collection and sharing ( Smart Citizen Kit – SCK , RESTful api, Mobile App and, the web community ), and (in a second phase) the production of objects; it connects people with their environment and their city to create more effective and optimized relationships between resources, technology, communities, services and events in the urban environment. Currently it is being deployed as initial phase in Barcelona city.”

Smart Citizen in Manchester

Citoyen Capteurs

“Il vise à développer un outil de mesure et de visualisation de la consommation électrique des foyers à bas coût et facilement réplicable. Non-intrusif et sécurisé, ce compteur – dont les notices de montage seront progressivement disponibles sous des licences libre sur ce wiki – fournira en temps réel des données à un panel de 40 foyers parisiens volontaires. Ces données seront accessibles sur ordinateur, smartphone, tablette ou télévision dans le cadre résidentiel sur une interface développée à partir d’une étude ethnographique visant à évaluer leur utilité et leur acceptabilité. Elles seront ensuite – si telle est la volonté des participants – rendues disponibles et anonymisées sous forme d’Open Data sur Internet, permettant à qui le souhaite d’imaginer des services utiles aux consommateurs.”



“The CitizenWatt project was launched by the association Labo Citoyen – Citoyen Capteurs in partnership with the Paris mayor’s office, hackEns (the hackerspace at École Normale Supérieure) and the fablab Fabelier.”

Public Lab

“The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (Public Lab) is a community — supported by a 501(c)3 non-profit — which develops and applies open-source tools to environmental exploration and investigation. By democratizing inexpensive and accessible Do-It-Yourself techniques, Public Lab creates a collaborative network of practitioners who actively re-imagine the human relationship with the environment.

The core Public Lab program is focused on “civic science” in which we research open source hardware and software tools and methods to generate knowledge and share data about community environmental health. Our goal is to increase the ability of underserved communities to identify, redress, remediate, and create awareness and accountability around environmental concerns. Public Lab achieves this by providing online and offline training, education and support, and by focusing on locally-relevant outcomes that emphasize human capacity and understanding.”


Air Quality Egg

“A community-led air quality sensing network that gives people a way to participate in the conversation about air quality.
The Air Quality Egg is a sensor system designed to allow anyone to collect very high resolution readings of NO2 and CO concentrations outside of their home. These two gases are the most indicative elements related to urban air pollution that are sense-able by inexpensive, DIY sensors.”


Fab Labs

Video in whiuch Tomas Diez gives overview of Fab Lab in Barcelona and his longer term vision for community led innovation.