“You want to see our sensor?” Pierre Forcioli-Conti gestures at a high window that leads to the roof. “You’ll have to climb over Matt’s desk and go out the window.” No problem. I wriggle through the window and climb out on top of the the refurbished 1940s movie theater on Mission Street in San Francisco. It doubles as his office.

Pierre joins me next to the theater’s still-intact marquee, once topped by a neon-lit sign that used to read GRAND. We duck under the struts holding up the marquee, then crunch over tar paper and decades of bird droppings to reach a balustrade ringing the roof. We’re clinging to the outside of the new digs of Gray Area, an art and technology nonprofit. One of the many projects they’re supporting involves putting sensors on city buildings.

Pierre, director of programs and initiatives at Gray Area, reaches over the edge of the roof and retrieves a white plastic case about the size of a pencil box. He cracks it open for me, revealing a microcontroller and a few sensors inside for tracking pollution, dust, light, sound, temperature, and humidity. The device was made by Taurin Barrera in collaboration with Seeed Studio for a guerrilla data-gathering project called Sense Your City. It’s the most recent project of Data Canvas, a global initiative founded by Gray Area, swissnex San Francisco, and Lift in 2013 that focuses on cities and data. Volunteers have assembled and installed 100 of the sensor kits, putting them on the outsides of buildings throughout San Francisco — and in seven other cities around the world, including Bangalore, Singapore, and Geneva.

Source: gizmodo.com

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