What if your old phone could help to save the environment? | University of Oxford

What if your old phone could help to save the environment?

How could your old phone help to save the environment?

Oxford scientists are collecting old cheap smart phones, which can be used as web-enabled, real-time monitors for just about anything, for just a few pounds.

How does it work? An attached sensor turns the environmental variable you want to measure (for instance moisture, humidity or temperature) into voltages, which can be monitored through the phone’s headphone jack. Because it is a phone, it is designed to send information on over long distances (usually texts and emails, but in this case environmental data), so it is easy and quick to keep track of the environment you are monitoring.

This system is far cheaper, and more effective, than off-the-shelf equipment, and costs a fraction of the price.

They have been labelled SmartStones, because they are disguised to look like little rocks – meaning they can be left out in different environments all round the world without being disturbed or stolen.

And SmartStones aren’t just being used out in the wilderness. Numerous treasured buildings are employing the devices to track and control their environment and save energy, meaning SmartStones are helping to preserve Pompeii, The Royal Albert Hall and Churchill’s birthplace Blenheim Palace.

So when you are done with your old phone, its adventures might have just begun!