When the Smoggie #airquality sensor was released as open source, we had a very specific target in mind: students and hobbyists that would build their own low cost sensors to add new data points on the global map, spreading the word on the #airquality impact on their communities and cities.

This came to materialise on multiple occasions like with the city-wide sensors network built in Campulung entirely by students, or the Exceed Possibilities workshop, just to name a few.

Therefore it was a great opportunity to partner with the Physics Department of the University of Craiova, Romania for their “Summer School” in September. 21 students from Bulgaria, Turkey, Slovakia and Romania learned to make an air monitoring sensor within the Erasmus+ project “Application of advanced technologies in teaching and research, in the field of air pollution”.

uRADMonitor founder Mr. Radu Motișan held a workshop on IOT basics and shared with the students bits of his entrepreneurial experience in the field of hardware production, emerging technologies like IOT and the importance of building innovation-focused companies. This was just to give them a basic start with sensors before allowing them to go fully hands-on.

The students learned how to physically build a sensor including soldering. This was a great opportunity for them to understand a key part of the current electronics industry: electronic components and the way they work in a complex design. For sure, it was also fun to debug some of the soldering problems but that’s how education works best, by trial and error:

Programming their sensors with Arduino was also fun as they saw the sensors come to life, measuring air quality via Particulate Matter concentration and connecting to the global uRADMonitor network of sensors. They were able to observe how the sensor data is acquired, stored and processed, discuss IoT (Internet of Things), Machine Learning algorithms and artificial intelligence needed to process big amounts of data.

They learned about 3D Printing and saw how it is done in the University 3D Printing Lab . The printers were used to build the enclosures for the sensors, as a final step.

In the 3D Printing Lab the students made plastic enclosures for the uRADMonitor SMOGGIE sensors built by them.

The sensors made in Craiova were installed in Turkey, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania, becoming part of the big uRADMonitor network.

This surely was one successful Erasmus+ project developed by the University of Craiova in partnership with Adana Türkeş Alparslan University of Science and Technology, University of Plovdiv “Paisii Hilendarski” and Matej Bel University of Banská Bistrika. The project aimed at developing students’ STEM skills and also increased teachers’ skills in using advanced technologies in open source technologies . Congratulations go to project coordinator, lect.univ.dr. Mihaela Tinca UDRIȘTIOIU and her colleagues at the University, for their contribution to advancing the education standards: