Crowdsourcing untapped mobile sensor data


While we live in a world of a billion sensors, their potential to connect remains largely untapped.

While millions of data streams are generated each day - increasing with the advent of mobile phones and personal devices embedded with sensors, users are unable to take control and advantage of them. Instead, data generated is either exploited by marketing companies or dissipates without use.

On the flip side, data is in demand. Individuals and institutions have difficulty sourcing for specific and accurate data for research. Loose data streams would be more valuable if aggregated and made discoverable.

How might we connect those who need data with those that can provide it?


Sellsor is a concept for a platform that connects individuals with data streams with other parties who need them. Through this open platform, companies, NGOs and institutions can easily acquire accurate and up-to-date data from specific groups of people. Data suppliers are empowered by having full control of their data while data users can overcome their limits in acquiring data.


How it works

At a basic level, the architecture is fairly simple. Data suppliers collect data from the environment using the Sellsor app, granting access to the sensors in their mobile phones and/or other devices embedded with sensors (e.g. laptops, connected devices) for data sensing and collection. Data suppliers may select the organizations and projects to release their data to, depending on renumeration and/or causes of the project. 


To begin, data users set up open calls for data on the platform by publishing details of their projects, their sensor/data needs and renumeration.


Using the app, data suppliers can browse and select projects to allocate their data to. Data will only be shared with organizations/projects that are approved by users. 

Payments are done via a crypto–currency, as it would allow for a global reach with minimal transaction fees.


Sellsor also speaks of a future where a larger variety of sensors are mounted on mobile phones, and the collection of data using sensors is simply effortless. By opening up vast troves of data the were previously inaccessible, doing so in an efficient and transparent way.


This project was conceived under 5 days with Chiayu Hsu and Samer Nakfour for the Microsoft Design Challenge 2014.