The use of microphones can function as a method to detect what happens in urban environments.
An advantage of using microphones as acoustic sensors as opposed to video cameras is that they capture the noise in all directions regardless of the environment’s light, to which the cameras are sensitive.
In this sense, the EAR-IT European project has the purpose to explore how microphones can capture information to help streamline resources such as energy, environment parameters or traffic management.
This system is intended to detect and meet the needs of the cities and thus improve the quality of life of citizens.
The program has successfully tested the utility of acoustic sensors to detect the amount of traffic in the Spanish city of Santander.
These sensors would also be useful for home’s automatic management and energy saving.
By tracking the density of urban traffic and the installation of energy saving devices at homes, among others, progress can be made in the development of cities and smart buildings. The project involves research institutions and business sector including the University of Cantabria.
The first phase of the project received funds amounting to € 1.45 million from the ICT section of the Seventh Framework Program of the EU and was underway for two years. It ended in September and the final report will be submitted before the end of the year.