Project Eclipse

Project Eclipse

Established: August 1, 2018



Project Eclipse: a low-cost, hyperlocal environmental sensing platform for cities

Pollution is something most urban residents experience regularly, but because it’s largely unseen and we lack sensors to help inform us it has become something of a “silent killer”.  Poor air quality for instance, is linked to a number of serious health ailments, including heart and lung disease, as well as issues like asthma aggravation, the World Health Organization estimates that 91% of the world’s population live in places where air quality exceeds guideline limits. With Project Eclipse, Urban Innovation presents a full stack -from sensors to analytics-sensing platform for cities. The goal is a radical increase (10x – 100x) in the geographic granularity of environmental sensing in cities in support of a variety of public health scenarios, starting with air quality.

Custom hardware: Air Quality (Pro II)

Eclipse sensors are custom designed, from the electrical engineering, firmware to the enclosure, and calibrated in our hardware lab at Microsoft Research in Redmond. The air quality sensors measure CO, NO2, SO2, and O3, as well as PM 1, PM 2.5, and PM 10, along with temperature, humidity and pressure. Data is uploaded using cellular LTE-M technology directly to an Azure data stack. The devices take sensor readings at 60 second and 15 minute intervals, powered by solar the devices run perpetually.

Graphic showing the inside of an Eclipse Air Sensor

Full Azure Data Stack

Project Eclipse utilizes Azure to ingest, process, store, analyze, and visualize air quality data. Final raw data are available in JSON format via simple REST API, and the Urban Innovation team has developed custom R analytics, Power BI, and web visualizations to help customers monitor and get insight from the data.

An architectural diagram of the project.

Next generation sensors

The Urban Innovation team continues to work toward its goal of low cost, low-to-no power environmental sensors. Additional sensors to be built are:

  1. Heat Index
  2. Water Quality
  3. RF-Low Powered Sensing

Pilot deployments

Project Eclipse is rolling out in partner cities including Chicago, Boston, Miami, and Kenmore. In Boston, for instance, Project Eclipse partnered with the Beta Blocks program that is exploring the public value of technology in communities. In Miami, researchers on the Urban Innovation Initiative are working with local government and civic tech community members to identify pilot projects around low income housing and hyperlocal weather and pollution monitoring.

Image showing a Project Eclipse device in operation in Miami.


beta blocks logo       Logo: City of Miami Florida



Microsoft Research is looking to expand its partnership program to deploy the Project Eclipse sensing platform in cities. Contact to learn more about how to participate.


Green Citizens

Project Eclipse: photo of leave clustered on a light pole

Welcome to our FAQ Green Citizens!

What is it?

This little leaf is an air quality monitor designed to measure the quality of Air or AQI (Air Quality Index)

What is it detecting?

We can detect 4 gases: CO, NO2, SO2, and Ozone, in addition to particulate matter PM 1.0, 2.5, 10. We also measure temperature and humidity.

How often does it sample?

The devices take sensor readings at 60 second and 15 minute intervals, powered by solar the devices run perpetually.

Is it watching me?

No, we have no cameras or mics installed.

How is it sending the data?

We use an LTE cellular chip to send data to our Azure account that we share with the city and interested communities.

What will you do with the data?

We will work with the city to analyze and understand patterns of pollution over time. This data will be made public.