From USA Today:

 

The Windy City has begun installing what sounds and looks a whole lot like a Fitbit that can measure the vitals of a bustling metropolis.

Chicago, which partnered on the project with researchers at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory and several corporations, last week installed the first two of 500 modular sensor boxes. The devices will eventually allow the city and public to instantly get block-by-block data on air quality, noise levels, as well as vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

The project — dubbed the Array of Things and described by Chicago officials as a “fitness tracker for the city” — is a first-of-its-kind effort in the nation. Plans are in the works to replicate the project in the coming years in more than a dozen other cities, including Atlanta, Chattanooga, and Seattle. The Chicago project was funded with the help of a $3.1 million National Science Foundation grant.

“Five years out, if we’re successful, this data and the applications and tools that will grow out of it will be embedded in the lives of residents, and the way the city builds new services and policies,” Chicago’s chief information officer Brenna Berman told USA TODAY. “It will be viewed as a utility — the same way view our street lights and the way we view our buses. They are there for us and they help us get through the city more easily. … They are just part of our everyday life.”

The 10-pound, beehive looking boxes — affixed on light poles — are fitted with sensors that will allow the city to measure air and surface temperature, barometric pressure, light, vibration, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone and ambient sound intensity. Two cameras in each sensor box will collect data on vehicle and foot traffic, standing water, sky color and cloud …

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