Have you ever gotten the feeling that somebody is watching you? Well, if you’re in Chicago, that may soon be more than a feeling. The windy city is implementing lamp posts as early as July that will be able to measure air, monitor noise, and most impressively, count pedestrians. According to The Chicago Tribune the lamp posts will be on Michigan Avenue and will measure environmental data such as air quality, light intensity, sound volume, heat, precipitation, and wind.
The coolest (albeit oddest) part of the new wave of technology popping up Chi-town? The posts will also sense foot traffic by monitoring available cell phone data.
"The city is interested in making Chicago a place where innovation happens"
Of course, with all new technology there are undoubtedly those who view this as just another ploy by our surveillance-obsessed government. However, according to lead scientist Charlie Catlett, all data collection will be anonymous. The posts will not identify people, record sounds or take pictures.
The project is a joint venture between the University or Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory. Chicago’s lamp posts will mark the first time environmental data has been collected in an urban city or such a large scale. If the project goes well, hundreds more will be expected in the coming years.