Environmental conditions such as air quality and weather can have a major impact on our health.
These conditions can affect many people in the community by making existing illnesses, such as asthma, allergies and hay fever, even worse.
Severe air pollution and heat events are linked to increases in ambulance call outs, hospital admissions and death.
Knowing about the quality of the air around us can help those with asthma or hay fever to better manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Start using the Sense-T AirRater Smartphone App
Download Sense-T AirRater App Factsheet
The app was launched in October 2015 by the President of the Senate, Senator Stephen Parry, and Tasmanian Health Minister Michael Ferguson (pictured, left).
The app is now available for free at the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Read about the launch here.
The AirRater project involves two concurrent streams.
Equipment has been installed around Tasmania to capture information on temperature and air pollution (in the form of pollen, smoke and some gasses).
This information will be gathered in near real-time and fed back to a central database.
At the same time, Tasmanians from all walks of life are asked to use our free smartphone app to report their daily symptoms of asthma, allergies and hay fever.
Once users have entered this information, they will be given a reading of the current levels of potential triggers in their immediate area.
Over time, we will be able to generate an individualised report showing each user how environmental conditions have impacted their symptoms, and then provide an alert when these conditions exist or are forecast.
This will allow users to manage their daily activities and improve their quality of life.
Temperature and air pollution information will also be used to support community-wide air pollution health advisories, heatwave forecasting and alerts, and fire weather mapping to assist firefighters, landowners and government.
The AirRater team consists of leading researchers in the fields of environmental health, with specialities in air pollution, pollen, smoke and heat. The project is a collaboration between the Menzies Institute for Medical Research, UTAS School of Biological Sciences, the Tasmanian Environmental Protection Agency, CSIRO, ANU and the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services.
A key ingredient in the success of the project will be the involvement of all Tasmanians who have asthma and hay fever.
Senior Research Fellow
Menzies Institute for Medical Research
University of Tasmania
Sense-T's AirRater Project is among 14 Industry Research Projects currently being undertaken. The projects have received funding of $6 million from the $13 million provided to the University of Tasmania for Sense-T by the Australian Government through the Tasmanian Jobs and Growth Plan, with a further $5 million contributed by our research and industry partners.