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Smart acoustic solutions for smart cities

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Sergio Luzzi, Vie En.Ro.Se. Ingegneria - Italy
Chucri A. Kardous, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Healt, USA


As the Internet of Things (IoT) takes hold and our lives and infrastructure become more interconnected, it is expected that smart sensors and monitoring systems will become ubiquitous. The smart cities of the future will depend on these monitoring systems and sensors to report on everything from lack of basic services to identifying risks and hazardous in real-time to promote better and healthy lifestyle conditions. Noise is one of the most common pollutants and major hazards in the world today, not just to hearing, but overall well-being.  Smart sensors and monitoring systems will play a crucial role in identifying and reporting on noisy sources and activities in order to provide regulators and city planners with the means and information to mitigate noise pollution in cities and towns across the world.

Noise monitoring has traditionally been accomplished using dedicated and expensive monitoring stations and networks that have mainly been operated by national or local governments since they require major funding and resources to operate and maintain. The introduction of cheap microcontrollers such as the Raspberry Pi and availability of cheaper microphones, along with the use of smartphones and their connectivity and geolocation features, allow for the implementation of smart and affordable noise monitoring nodes.  

Today, we see these cheaper monitoring stations and smartphones being utilized by researchers and citizen scientists to crowdsource and report on noise pollution in major cities. Some of the major challenges encountered in these recent studies are the accuracy of the measurements, the reliability of the reported data, and the lack of standardized methods for the use and operation of sensor or smartphone-based systems. In this special issue, we will examine subjects such as smart noise mapping procedures and methods, the use of smartphones and tablets in crowdsourcing or participatory research, the effect of noise mapping on urban planning and soundscape design. 


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