Building a Cloud-based Noise Monitoring System to Investigate Noise Pollution in the South Bronx: An Industry-approach to Physics Teaching and Learning

Congratulations to Professor Biao Jiang, Assistant Professor in the Natural Sciences Professor for being awarded a Continuing Education and Workforce Programs grant! He describes the grant below.

The effect of population growth in New York City has lead to an increase in noise pollution in the community (1). Noise pollution is a big challenge for technology, politicians, and decision-making society actors to solve New York City is projected to grow from 8.2 million persons in 2010 to 9 million in 2040, an increase of 783,000 or 9.5 percent (2). As more people will move to big urban centers, complex problems such as noise pollution should be addressed with a multidimensional perspective. Scientific evidence suggests that constant exposure to high levels of noise can lead to anxiety, hearing loss, cardiovascular diseases among other health issues (3,4,5). Furthermore, side effects of sound disturbances caused by trains and urban traffic can have a negative impact on the health of residents, the process of recovering hospital patients and the student’s ability to focus.

This project will design and implement a cloud-based noise monitoring system into a calculus-based General Physics II course, which includes sound and noise as part of the course content, to expand the collection of Bronx noise data. In doing so, students will develop their content understanding, scientific inquiry skills and ability to propose solutions to real-world problems. Overall, they will effectively use current industry methodologies such as team-based product delivery, programming, data analysis, project management, cloud technology, embedded system, and produce a tangible product or action.

The pilot project started 2 years ago, and 8 students were recruited to work on this topic. These 8 students were trained to master industry-specific skills, and all of them have received internship from universities, research institutions or companies during past years. With the help of this CUNY Grant, the whole class of General Physics II will develop this undergraduate research opportunity.


  1. Environmental issues in New York City. (accessed Apr 2018).
  2. The City of New York. (2013). New York City Population Projections by Age/Sex & Borough, 2010–2040. pp. 2.
  3. McAlexander, Tara P., Robyn RM Gershon, and Richard L. Neitzel. (2015). Street-level Noise in an Urban Setting: Assessment and Contribution to Personal Exposure. Environmental Health. BioMed Central.
  4. Neitzel, Richard L., Robyn R M Gershon, Tara P. McAlexander, Lori A. Magda, and Julie M. Pearson. (2015). Exposures to Transit and Other Sources of Noise among New York City Residents. Environmental Science and Technology. American Chemical Society.
  5. Occupational Safety & Health Administration. Occupational Noise Exposure. United States Department of Labor.  (accessed Apr 2017).​

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