June 6, 2018 5:19 pm
Updated: June 7, 2018 12:25 pm

New technology from Edmonton City Hall alerts residents to air quality

This light installation at Edmonton City Hall reflects the current air quality.

Supplied: City of Edmonton
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Edmontonians wondering what the air quality is like now have a new tool to use and the technology is being showcased by a light installation at City Hall.

Using technology that connects through WiFi-enabled lightbulbs, Edmontonians can connect their bulb to an app and receive the latest Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) information.

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“We’re excited to showcase this new technology,” said Paul Ross, branch manager of Economic and Environmental Sustainability. “It can help alert people with asthma or chronic breathing conditions to take precautions to protect their health.”

The colour of the light will depend on the current AQHI. Blue represents a low risk, yellow warns of a moderate risk, orange means the air quality is at high risk and red represents very high risk.

Anyone with a Wifi-enabled light bulb can connect to the app and their bulb will change colour depending on the air quality rating.

Supplied: City of Edmonton

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The installation at City Hall uses open-source code data that was originally used by the City of Louisville in Kentucky. According to the city, an Edmonton developer used If This Then That technology (IFTTT) to “turn code into a bridge between Wi-Fi light bulbs and the province of Alberta’s air quality health index data.”

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The AQHI information is updated every five minutes.

According to the city, Edmonton is the first city in Canada to create a partnership with IFTTT.

The installation at Edmonton City Hall was created by Dylan Toymaker, a local artist. His work has been seen at Edmonton events like the Flying Canoe Festival and Zoominescence. The installation will be displayed through the month of June, though the AQHI information will continue to be provided after this month.

The installation was launched on Wednesday, which is also Clean Air Day.

“Clean Air Day is an annual reminder to appreciate and protect something most of us take for granted every day,” Councillor Andrew Knack said in a release. “It also gets people thinking about ways to improve Edmonton’s air quality. These could include being idle free, taking alternative modes of transportation or planting a tree.”

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Clean Air Day is recognized across Canada to celebrate clean air and good health, while promoting the importance of air quality to the population’s health, environment and economy.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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