CamBike Sensor

A cyclist’s mobile sensor hub for big data citizen science.
Have a look at our wiki at
Or have a look at the latest results at
You can download our presentation from Sensors Day here


Useful links:
  • Our wiki at
  • The latest results at
  • You can download our presentation from Sensors Day here

  • Pollution monitoring

    Incorporated gas sensors monitor the pollution levels along the roads and inform you via app when and where you should avoid traffic.

    Road quality estimation

    An inbuilt three-axis accelerometer tracks the quality of the roads during your journey and identifies unnecessary slow-downs.

    Personal bike tracking

    Our wireless network across Cambridge allows you to track the position of your bike when you log in to your account.

    Watch our latest presentation where we give an overview of our work, results, and future plans!


    CamBike Sensor is a student-led initiative from the University of Cambridge. The project aim is to develop a sensor hub that can be mounted onto bikes, allowing you to monitor air pollution, estimate road quality, and track your bike. By encouraging Cambridge residents to assemble and/or use the easy-to-build sensors, as well as access the analysed data, this project will bring the world of science closer to the community and promote engagement with issues relating to the quality of the local environment. For more detailed technical information, have a look at our wiki!

    Are pollutant levels on the roads of Cambridge acceptable, or do they pose a health threat? How good is the quality of roads, including the smaller ones that cars don’t frequent, but bikes do? To measure this, we need a system that relies on many different sensors spread across town. Mounting lots of sensors on lots of bikes has the advantage that we won’t need to rely on very expensive sensors, but can still compare the readouts to stationary sensors already present across the city. We cannot do this on our own and so we need engaged and interested citizens like you to help us create this network. By mounting the sensors on bikes, we can measure the air and road quality when you’re in traffic, and cover large parts of Cambridge. The hub will contain multiple sensors. We are using particulate matter sensors to measure the amount of very small particles (PM10) in the air that can enter deep into your lungs and cause inflammation. PM10 include pollutants emitted by cars.

    An incorporated GPS module is used to locate the bike while you are travelling. All data are transmitted using low power wireless communication. The system will be self-powered and supported by a battery that won’t have to be charged often.

    If you volunteer to build the sensor hub, you will need to set up the sensors and connect them to a central circuit board, which will then be encased and put on a bike. Alternatively, you can volunteer to use a pre-built sensor hub for a week, to map your frequently taken routes. The collected data can be viewed interactively using an app on a phone or a computer. The data you collect will be accessible only to you. The overview map of air pollution and road quality in Cambridge produced from yours and others’ anonymised data will be made available online to the community.

    A one-minute introduction to CamBike Sensor.

    Become a volunteer or sign up for the newsletter!

    Get in touch

    If you also want to receive our weekly newsletter, please say so in the message field.
    We will not forward your data to third parties. If you want us to change or remove your personal information, just drop us an email. We will not publish any single tracks from volunteers unless they are uploaded in the openaccess folder.


    • How will the sensor hub be fitted onto my bike?
      • The hub measures 95x95x65 mm and can be conveniently fitted on a rack, the frame, underneath the saddle or even on the handlebars. It is equipped with reusable cable-ties.
    • Do I need to have a smartphone?
      • No. We save the gathered data in our database. You can access it via the internet and visualise it. The sensor hub will collect and send the information automatically and does not need to be connected to your phone. All data you collect will be only visible to yourself. All users will be able to see "heat maps" that display an overview of air and road quality gathered from lots of devices.
    • Is it powered by batteries, and if yes, how long do they last?
      • We are currently looking into using an induction power harvesting system that can be connected to your bike to support the batteries and might even power bike lights. Right now, it is still powered by batteries. We try to build it as long-lasting as possible and to avoid the need of changing the batteries more than once a week.
    • What do I have to do to upload my data after becoming a volunteer tester?
      • We will give you login details for the database and instructions on how to access your data.
    • I am a volunteer tester and one (or more) component stopped working. What do I do?
      • Most likely the batteries are empty. If you like, you can try to change them (give us the receipt and we can reimburse you) or drop us an email so we can arrange a meeting to troubleshoot.
    • I am a volunteer tester and something broke. What do I do?
      • Just let us know via email and we can arrange a meeting to troubleshoot.
    • I signed up as a volunteer and did not hear anything back. Why is that?
      • We had far more sign ups than expected and making the devices is still a lengthy process. We are steadily increasing the number of ready-built sensor hubs and will let you know as soon as we have one ready for you. If you have access to a soldering iron and electronics experience AND are keen to give it a go yourself, just write us an email and we will give you the parts needed for self-assembly (together with instructions).
    • Is the system limited to Cambridge city centre?
      • We use a wide area network to transmit data and are very interested to see how far it reaches. But we cannot guarantee to reach whole Cambridgeshire and therefore the focus will lie on Cambridge and surrounding villages.
    • Who can contribute?
      • The more data the better! We are interested in people who commute / ride a set route over and over again to school, department, work etc., but also in people who randomly ride all over the place. Regular routes give us more reliable data but people who travel around give us more details and a better resolution of heat maps.

    Picture gallery

    Northern Lights
    Hiking with a CamBike sensor in the Alps - we can tell you: the air quality is really good.
    Northern Lights
    The hub on a bike - unexpected.
    Northern Lights
    We can also power the hub with a rechargeable power bank, then it lasts much longe than with batteries.
    Northern Lights
    Our PCB, no connectors are soldered on yet.
    Northern Lights
    What have we got here? Data!
    Northern Lights
    The Blackpill, the microprocessor we use.
    Experiments with a wheel for power harvesting.
    Northern Lights
    Did you know what's inside the hub?
    Sigfox prototype
    Lots of prototypes with Sigfox antennas.
    Another prototype. Not yet waterproof.
    Casing 1.0. 3D-printed design.
    Fitting on a bike
    An action shot of us fitting an empty design on a bike.
    Northern Lights
    First air quality measuements in Cambridge.
    Is the air next to a BBQ as bad as you say?
    Bike ride
    Impression from Peter's ride to Paris.
    Fitting on a bike
    Somewhere between Cambridge and Paris...
    Greetings from the Fab City Summit in Paris.
    International accelerometer data.

    CamBike Sensor in the media

    We were featured in a number of different media, including TV and radio:

    Tweets by CambikeSensor

    Ten people. Eight different backgrounds. Seven nationalities. One vision. #ourteam #cambikesensor #cambridgeuniversity #ceb #engineering #chemicalengineering #team

    A post shared by CamBike Sensor (@cambikesensor) on


    We would like to thank our mentors and supporters, including:
    • The EPSRC research council for funding
    • The Sensor CDT University of Cambridge programme for organisational support and funding
    • The Centre for Global Equality for organisational support
    • Makespace, especially Ward Hills, for support with the Makeathon
    • The Centre for Computing History for support with workshops
    • Zedify for support with data collection
    • Our university mentors for academic support, especially Oliver Hadeler, Clemens Kaminski, Axel Zeitler, Andrés Arcia-Moret, Roísín Owens, and Ljiljana Fruk
    • Karen Scrivener for organisational support
    • Sebastien Cosnefroy and Luca Aiello for academic support
    • Harvey Bewley for help with the design
    • Bruno Beloff and John Saffell for academic support
    • Andrew Stretton and Sharel Peisan for academic support
    • Reelight for support with the power supply system
    • Bemap for academic input
    • And all our volunteers for making this project possible!