Read the full story in Fast Company.
On a recent Wednesday in London, a robotic teddy bear was temporarily perched on a streetlight next to Brixton Road, one of the most polluted streets in the city. When air pollution levels reached a certain limit–the point at which the government recommends that anyone with a lung or heart problem should reduce exercise outdoors–the bear raised its paw to its mouth and coughed.
“We discovered the alarming statistic that more people die every year from breathing in toxic air than from car accidents,” says James Crosby, a creative at the advertising agency McCann London, the team behind the project. More than 200 people are killed each year in accidents on the city’s streets, but more than 9,000 die prematurely from illnesses related to London’s air pollution. The bear, surrounded by flowers, forms a temporary memorial that the team is installing at local pollution hotspots. The fact that it is animatronic helps make people walking by pay attention.