Ellie D'Hondt

Office: 10 F 730
E-mail: eldhondt@vub.ac.be
Phone: +32 2 629 1353
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Faculty of Sciences, DINF – SOFT
Pleinlaan 2
B-1050 Brussels, Belgium

Job Description

I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Software Languages Lab of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, where I drive the mobile sensing (BrusSense) team. The main vehicle for this research is NoiseTube, a mobile app & web platform which enables measuring and mapping of noise. I also work on iScope, a European project developing a smart city framework in collaboration with several city and regional administrations and focusing on noise assessment, routing for diversely-abled citizens, and solar energy potential estimation of the urban fabric.

Research Description

I arrived full-time at the Software Languages Lab in 2010, after a research career in quantum computation. At this time I had developed a keen interest in sustainable development and in particular the usefulness of Internet of Things technologies in this area. Concretely, I work in the area of participatory sensing, which leverages the mobile&pervasive character of smartphones as person-centric sensing devices. My work focuses on investigating whether and how such setting can be used to assess environmental conditions properly, by developing procedures that coordinate people and technology so as to guarantee optimal data gathering. Here we look at issues such as sensing and map quality, community use cases and (re)usability, and compatibility of participatory data gathering methods with existing methodologies for monitoring the environment, which operate in a fundamentally different way (e.g. by simulation). I have investigated the above issues in the context of noise pollution, air pollution, microclimate, and mobility, all the while working closely with a wide variety of stakeholders: researchers, citizens, community groups, cities and regional administrations. This has led to the organisation of several mapping campaigns and to widespread media attention. Both of these activities are essential in an area where a sensing platform does not exist without users, and where democratisation of technologies towards all citizens is the ultimate goal.