Graduate from Royal College of Art with a Master degree in Product Design, Huachen Xin is the designer behind Pollution Ranger and Smog Shade, a project that creates alternative ways for people to gather and access “natural” air quality data, as well as a way to visualize this data in public spaces to create social impact and put pressure on the inaccurate official datasets.
Since 2008, air pollution has become a major issue in China and poses a threat to Chinese public health. The only air quality that people can access is the government published data and the authenticity of it are doubtable. The government deliberately install the air quality monitors in clean air places, such parks, mid-lake islands, rooftops, or outskirts. Lack of alternative source of verified national and local data not only violates the basic rights of citizens but also serves as an abuse of power.
These are the reasons why Huachen decided to devote himself to this project.
Pollution Ranger is a self-powered air quality monitor, it is installed on taxi or uber cars and travel all around the city to collect air pollution data. People then can examine the gathered data through the phone application. With this system, people can not only know the air pollution condition nearby them, but also the places they interested in.
Smog Shades is an installation which visualizes the air pollution in public spaces. By using the polarizing effect, the dish shows air quality data from different spaces. The darker the shade, the more polluted the space. People could use their phone apps to interact with this installation by touching city tags to view official city pollution, or touching the red dot to view the pollution of the places they care are about.
Tested in London and Shanghai, the installation is currently a prototype with a great potential: Huchaen is not only seeking to tackle the problem of pollution but also the abuse of power that some governments exercise, using disinformation as a weapon.