People who are concerned about the environment usually use public transportation and avoid car and plane journeys in order to reduce CO2 generation. However, although this can significantly reduce the individual carbon footprint, it has been difficult to quantify the benefit of these measures. The "Carbon Hero", a unique key ring sensor, was developed to overcome this measurement problem by displaying the user's carbon footprint on a mobile phone. The easy-to-use mobile system takes advantage of satellite navigation data in order to calculate the environmental impact of the user's traveling. According to its inventor, the "Carbon Hero" can determine the mode of transport and its environmental impact with almost no user input, drawing on its internal database and algorithm.
The invention of the "Carbon Hero" began in April 2007. Back then, Oxford graduate student Nick Burch joined Zachariah in his efforts. Burch had produced a number of open source, mobile, and navigation location-based applications. His experience contributed to the team's success. During 2007, Zachariah and Burch focused on conducting many tests and on taking measurements. "We have now tested our application using GPS and it has proved to be very efficient. Once Galileo, the European global navigation satellite system, becomes fully operational its increased accuracy will aid Carbon Hero to measure journeys and then determine their carbon footprint," says Zachariah.
"Carbon Hero" is designed to provide environmentally-conscious people with real-time data concerning the environmental impact of their traveling. According to Zachariah, the feedback loop is almost immediate, and since the information will be displayed on the users' cellular phones, it will be easy to stay informed. Time will tell if people will indeed change their lifestyles and behavior in order to generate less CO2, after using the device.
TFOT recently covered many other green technological developments, including a new cheap organic solar cell, a solar tree designed for urban lighting, and a special solar concentrator called Heliotube.
More information on the "Carbon Hero" can be found on the product's official website.