'Measuring particulates with your Smartphone’ – now open for registration

Registration has opened for the iSPEX large-scale citizen science project, ‘Measuring particulates with your Smartphone’. As of 22 February, all those interested in taking part can order the iSPEX, a special Smartphone attachment. With the iSPEX attachment, everyone can participate in the big measurement day in Spring.

Smartphone as scientific instrument

In combination with the accompanying app, the iSPEX attachment magically transforms a Smartphone into a scientific instrument for measuring particulates in the atmosphere. The participants point their iSPEX-equipped phones at a piece of clear sky and take a photograph. Their measurements, together with those of 10,000 other Dutch people, are centrally processed into a particulates map of the Netherlands, allowing people to make a real contribution to atmospheric research. The measurements can for instance be used to better map the health risks of particulates. This is the first time that such a large-scale project will be carried out with active measurements from citizen science. The goal of the experiment is to determine the accuracy of mass measurements and to see how these measurements can be used in scientific research.

Technology from astronomy and space research

iSPEX is based on the SPEX technique (Spectropolarimeter for Planetary Exploration), developed by the iSPEX partner institutes for the precise measurement of particulates from a satellite or from ground control stations. Frans Snik, team leader and astronomer at Leiden University: 'iSPEX is the result of developments in astronomy and space research. Thanks to this technology, everyone can now make scientific measurements themselves!’

Winner of the Academic Year Prize 2012

The iSPEX project won the Academic Year Prize in October 2012. Since then the iSPEX attachment has been extensively tested in the lab and further developed. The mass production of 10,000 iSPEX attachments will now begin and the development of the accompanying app is almost completed. Thanks to the 100,000 euro prize linked to the Academic Year Prize, as well as the sponsoring of a number of partners, the costs for the DIY scientist have been kept low: the iSPEX can be ordered for only 2.5 euro.

App offers extras

You can now register to participate and to order an attachment (see the link at the bottom of this page). Participants will receive their attachment in May. The accompanying free app keeps the participants informed of the date of the measurement, on a clear day sometime in May or June of this year. The app guides the participant through the measurement and offers additional extras such as the possibility to experiment further with lamp light. iSPEX is free for sponsors/members of the Lung Foundation and for subscribers of the popular scientific magazines KIJK, Know How and Zo Zit Dat.

iSPEX partners

iSPEX is an initiative of Leiden University – NOVA (Netherlands Research School of Astronomy), the Space Research Organization Netherlands (SRON), RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment) and KNMI (Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute). Leiden University won the Academic Year Prize 2012 with iSPEX. The Lung Foundation is a senior partner in the project, together with CNG Net, the popular scientific magazines KIJK, Know How and Zo Zit Dat, and Avantes.

(26 February 2013)

See also

Last Modified: 26-02-2013