Jedi Pan Zheng Xiang
Nanyang Technological University
Proposal title: Air Tick: Harnessing Crowd Power for a Liveable City
As the number of people sharing this planet—seven billion at last count—continues to rise, the number of environmental challenges we will face will only correspondingly increase.
Most people living in Singapore will have experienced the annual haze produced from forest fires in Indonesia. In 2005, Jedi Pan Zheng Xiang was personally involved in Singapore’s effort against the haze as part of the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s cloud seeding operations in Sumatra, Indonesia. Since then, he has been inspired to find technological solutions to solve urban liveability issues in areas such as air quality.
Pan proposes a technology framework called AirTick, which uses artificial intelligence powered by crowdsourcing. People first take a photo of their outdoor surroundings and use AirTick to label visible light sources (such as the sun) in the photo, before sending the photo and metadata to a cloud computing platform. Based on the location, camera orientation and time information embedded in these photos, the platform will build up a large-scale dataset by combining real-time air quality data from various online sources with the photos. An associated algorithm will estimate air quality metrics, such as the Pollutants Standard Index (PSI), and over time provide accurate air quality information without relying on expensive or bulky air sensors.
In addition to air quality analytics, a hidden gem in the dataset is information on the duration and strength of sunlight around Singapore. Using Pan’s machine learning-powered Sunlight Analyser, urban planners can figure out where to deploy solar panels to tap into this abundant and renewable source of energy.
Pan, an interdisciplinary graduate school PhD scholar at Nanyang Technological University, believes that all these developments will empower citizens to actively participate in building a sustainable and liveable Singapore.