Common Sense

What if every mobile device had an air quality sensor?

We are developing mobile sensing technologies that help communities gather and analyze environmental data. We hope that this hardware and software will empower everyday citizens to learn more about their environment and influence environmental regulations and policy.

We have developed various research prototypes, which are being used in studies such as a deployment on street sweepers in San Francisco and a deployment of a handheld device in West Oakland. Right now we are focusing our efforts on air quality sensing. Our hope is that our research prototypes will demonstrate the utility of embedding environmental sensors in commercial commodity devices such as mobile phones.


common sense logo

Why Common Sense?

Our project name “Common Sense” refers to Thomas Paine's famous treatise on democracy, because we hope our project will illustrate ways in which everyday citizens can use sensing technologies to conduct citizen science and participate in the political process. The project name also emphasizes the notion that sensing data can be shared in common by communities, that individuals can join together to collect and analyze environmental data.

Thomas Paine Inspiration

“It is not in numbers, but in unity, that our great strength lies…”
Thomas Paine, Common Sense

“…[this work] may be the means of giving rise to something better. Could the straggling thoughts of individuals be collected, they would frequently form materials for wise and able men to improve into useful matter.” Thomas Paine, Common Sense

Photo Gallery

View photos of the devices

Contact Information
Common Sense — Mobile sensing for community action
© 2009-2012 Common Sense
Logo and Website by Mazzarello Media and Arts