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City Scanner - Prototyping




4: Architecture

Faculty Supervisor:

Carlo Ratti

Faculty email:


Apply by:



Simone Mora: moras@mit.edu

Project Description

The City Scanner project (http://senseable.mit.edu/cityscanner) is developing a platform which harnesses the power of fleets of low-cost, intelligent and autonomous vehicular sensors to drive use cases in the field of environmental monitoring, civic engagement and public health. Intelligence stemming from a fleet of sensor-equipped vehicles is aggregated to provide advanced analytics for both local governments and citizens; enabling decision-making and fostering public engagement on environmental issues. The project is piloting the platform in several cities around the globe, aiming at characterizing the unique environmental signatures of cities towards the design of novel data-driven use cases and engaging data visualizations. Over 2019 and 2020, we have deployed multiple monitors on vehicles in the mining town of Sparwood, Canada, and in the Bronx, in the city of New York. Our monitors currently record air pollution, temperature and humidity, although we have plans to include thermal cameras to our platform in the future. We seek to work with students who can help us develop the next generation of solar-powered, autonomous and modular environmental sensors. The work includes prototyping Internet of Things (IoT) sensing modules, and their interfacing with the City Scanner platform backend. Because of the physical prototyping activities required by this job, preference will be given to students that are on campus, although some of the work can be done remotely. We will also consider applicants that can only work fully remotely. Task description: (i) Development of IoT components, either for hardware/software sensing modules, e.g. using air quality sensors and thermal cameras (ii) Construction and assembly of physical prototypes (iii) Help to manage and maintain the fleets of sensors that are currently deployed around the globe


- General knowledge of sensing technologies, IoT systems and network (required) - Knowledge of advanced Arduino programming or experience with C/C++ programming (required) - Knowledge of thermal imaging systems (preferred) - Experience with design and prototyping of hardware electronics (beadboard prototyping, schematics drawing, etc.) (preferred)