Image of a Pigeon walking on the street.

Pigeons, Twitter, and Air Pollution

Beth Linas
Apr 11, 2016

The Internet of Things (IoT) has spawned innovation in directions never previously imagined. For example, a Paris-based air quality monitoring company, Plume Labs, has teamed up with Twitter to equip pigeons with tiny backpacks carrying air-monitoring equipment - possibly the newest transformation of Smart and Connected Health!

The tiny backpacks were designed to sense pollution in London and communicate findings to Londoners via Twitter at @pigeonair. Although this idea originated as a method to engage citizens in crowd sourcing pollution patterns in London, it is an interesting example of how science can be utilized.

While it may seem to some a trivial example, it reveals the need for new science. For example, how could sensors be further miniaturized, battery life prolonged, or additional sensors included to increase value? From an analytics approach, could these data be fused with hospital data to better understand air quality, microclimates, and health?

Who knew pigeons could be so useful?

Read more here: and here:

Image Courtesy of Leeroy /


Beth Linas

p&2015-16 Executive Branch Fellow at the National Science Foundation; Twitter: @bethlinas&


This blog does not necessarily reflect the views of AAAS, its Council, Board of Directors, officers, or members. AAAS is not responsible for the accuracy of this material. AAAS has made this material available as a public service, but this does not constitute endorsement by the association.

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