By Elton Gomes
A team of three students from Bharati Vidyapeeth’s College of Engineering, Delhi, has won a competition organised by the prestigious Marconi Society in the US.
Tanmay Srivastava, Kanishk Jeet, and Prerna Khanna were announced the winners for developing a mobile application – named Air Cognizer – that predicts the quality of air in one’s neighbourhood by analysing the images taken by a smartphone camera.
The application was developed for the competition, which is organised in India under the Celestini Program. The Program is supported by the Marconi Society.
The winning team, which won $1,500 for their solution, developed an inexpensive, portable, and real-time air quality analytics application.
The app could prove to be crucial for Delhi, particularly since the national capital has been struggling with its air quality. Delhi has been in the grip of toxic air for almost a week, due to thick smoke emanating from stubble burning in the neighbouring regions of Haryana and Punjab.
“You can’t know how to counter an issue unless you know the severity of it. Hence, we created Air Cognizer to make residents know the quality of the air they breathe, which is just a click away,” Srivastava told IANS.
How does the app work?
The Air Cognizer app estimates the air quality of a place by assessing images taken on the phone’s camera. “The user has to upload an image taken outdoor with half of it covering the sky region. Using image processing techniques, features are extracted and the Machine Learning (ML) model of the app estimates the AQI in the area,” the Society said in a statement, Firstpost reported. The machine learning model has been deployed on smartphones using Tensorflow Lite and the ML Kit from Google.
What is the Marconi society?
Established in 1974 in honour of the 1909 Nobel Laureate Guglielmo Marconi, who invented the radio, the California-based Marconi Society promotes awareness of key technology and policy issues in telecom and internet sectors. Additionally, it recognises individual achievements by giving away the Marconi Prize and Young Scholar Awards every year.
The Celestini Programme was named after the hill in Italy where Marconi conducted his first wireless transmission experiments. The Programme is run by the Marconi Society’s annual Young Scholar Awards.
The Society works with engineering undergraduate students in developing countries so that technology can be used for social and economic transformation of their communities.
The Programme began in India in 2017. It was initiated by Aakanksha Chowdhery in partnership with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Delhi). In the past, Chowdhery has been a Marconi Young Scholar and was an engineer at Google. She is known for her work in high-speed last mile internet connectivity.
Professors Brejesh Lall and Prerana Mukherjee are the Programme’s partners from IIT-Delhi.
Other teams from India
Out of 100 applicants, three teams were chosen to work during the summer at IIT-Delhi on problems related to air pollution and road safety in the national capital.
Divyam Madaan and Radhika Dua from the Chandigarh-based University Institute of Engineering and Technology won the second prize in the competition. The duo designed a website that predicts air pollution levels in Delhi over the next 24 hours.
Sidharth Talia, Nikunj Agarwal, and Samarjeet Kaur, again from Bharati Vidyapeeth’s College of Engineering, secured third place in the competition. They prototyped a low-latency platform that transmits vehicle-to-vehicle alerts about potential road safety hazards through computer vision techniques on Raspberry Pi and Xbee radio modules.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius.
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