Microsoft Research

EcoPod is a retrofitted, solar powered trailer serving as an environmental pop-up lab designed to engage communities with local environmental data, through Project Eclipse, and expertise for climate awareness and resilience. The EcoPod is designed to help facilitate city and community conversations around air quality, bridging the gap of data access as well as increasing engagement on environmental sustainability efforts and organizations across cities. 

The concept originated from Microsoft Research’s Urban Futures Workshop in 2020. The result was a whitepaper that explored the idea of a pop-up lab to bridge the gap between data and communities. Urban Innovation collaborated with Azure IOTWZMH Architects / sparkbird, and Nassal to retrofit a small portable trailer to serve as a destination for neighborhood residents to directly learn about their air quality. The increased demand for flexible and hybrid solutions around Covid-19 also informs its design.

The pod experience is sustainable and simple. The trailer unfolds into a temporary stage and demo area that enables scientists to share local environmental data and insights about the neighborhood and city it’s currently in. It also provides a physical space for community leaders and environmental groups to host conversations with residents. The pod is solar powered and provides free Wi-Fi access while also supporting STEM related activities for kids.