Looking at the photos of the air quality balloons, I thought of how they resembled sky lanterns, the small hot air balloons popular in parts of Asia. (The “trick” is fire proofing the paper.) I would like to make one of these, but living in California, I’m afraid they’d turn into fire balloons. Yes, a nonflammable equivalent could be made with Helium and some LEDs, but it doesn’t seem the same. The simple elegance of a bag and a flame is part of the attraction of the lanterns to me.
“Tethered balloon specialists”, Aerophile, a European balloon company, has installed a glowing balloon over Paris to inform Parisians of the local air quality. Named Air de Paris and located in the Parc Andre CitroÃ«n, the balloon relays data from sensors deployed throughout Paris as part of the CITEAIR project.
This work draws an obvious comparison to the work of Stacey Kuznetsov, a student in Eric Paulous‘s lab at CMU. Her Air Quality balloons, integrated a air quality sensor along with RGB LEDs directly into a weather balloon, to provide local, rather than regional air quality information. I have no idea of Aerophile contacted Stacy Kuznetsov, or what, but the idea of local information.