Innovation That Matters

The lamp, called Canari (meaning, ‘canary’, as in ‘the canary in the coal mine’), is made of brass, glass, and 3D-printed parts. | Photo source Canari

A lamp that turns air pollution data into art

Architecture & Design

The lamp can transform data about local air quality into unique lighting patterns


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Spotted: Air pollution has been called an invisible killer – it is everywhere, but often impossible to see. Now, Brussels-based designer Guillaume Slizewicz has devised a way of making air pollution visible by creating a lamp that turns data about local pollution levels into unique light patterns. The idea is to both provide information about pollution and to highlight the need to act on rising air pollution levels. 

The lamp, called Canari (meaning, ‘canary’, as in ‘the canary in the coal mine’), is made of brass, glass, and 3D-printed parts. It includes a microcontroller connected to real-time open data on pollution. This, in turn, controls a series of LEDs. When connected to the internet, the lamp uses public data to determine the air quality. The LEDs are then dimmed according to this data, with a dimmer light indicating more pollution. 

The goal of the project is to draw attention to the levels of air pollution. The name Canari is also intended to draw a link with the past, and with coal mines, the industrial process and the environmental damage this has caused.  

Slizewicz says that by using citizen science-based data, the lamp, “gives them a more intuitive representation (going beyond the red-orange-green traditional scheme). What’s more, the blueprints are open-source and documented so that everyone can create their own or remix our idea.” 

Air pollution is a growing problem in many areas of the world and often goes hand-in-hand with rising CO2 levels. While the Canari lamp is aimed at education, other innovations we have seen lately focus on purifying the air. These include the use of algae bioreactors to purify the air and a novel aeroplane engine that reduces flight emissions. 

Written By: Lisa Magloff

Explore more: Sustainability | Work and Lifestyle



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