The explosion of Internet-connected sensors has created low-cost granular monitoring capabilities. Some exciting projects of connected sensors tracking outdoor air pollution have emerged in the last few months:
Air Quality Egg is a community-led air quality sensing network. The Egg is allowing anyone to collect high resolution readings of nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide concentrations with low-cost DIY sensors. This project has a strong focus on a crowd-sourced approach and is a good example of collaborative open source technology projects emerging in the air quality area.
AirBot is a pocket-sized particle counting sensor developed by Carnegie Mellon University. Their vision includes community-generated maps and data visualization. The project is still in a prototype phase but the lab plans to market AirBot next year (around $99). Technical information will soon be available.
Intel has also recently developed sensors located closer to where air quality really matters, i.e. where people are breathing. The project is in pilot phase and will be implemented first in Dublin, Ireland. Sensors will track oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide but not PM.
Sensaris is collecting environmental data such as noise, carbon dioxide carbon monoxide fine particles, humidity, temperature, along with positioning information via a portable sensor (Senspods). Data are sent wirelessly to mobile phones. The project aims to engage citizens to collect data and share them via social networking applications in order to map air quality in cities.
Sensordrone is a Kickstarter project of a sensor monitoring gasses, temperatures, humidity, alcohol breath, gas leak, light, etc. They also developed a mobile app with some functions but call for new ones to be developed by users with open source software. Sensordrone is aiming at expanding public air quality monitoring stations network and get more relevant information (air quality where people actually live). This sensor project could lead to many exciting projects. For air quality monitoring, 3 sensors are included:
- Electrochemical Gas Sensor: calibrated for Carbon Monoxide (can also be used for precision measurements of Alcohol, Hydrogen, and others)
- Gas Sensor for Oxidizing Gases : MOS (Metal oxide semiconductor) type for Chlorine, Ozone, Nitrogen Dioxide, etc.
- Gas Sensor for Reducing Gases – MOS type for methane, Propane, alcohols, other hydrocarbons, etc.
AirWaves is a pollution mask equipped with particle sensors and a wireless connection, sharing data via a smartphone app. Users are contributing to map air quality and adapt their behaviour to real-time pollution (by avoiding highly polluted areas for example). The mask is one of eight winning wearable technology concepts spawned by an internal competition at Frog Design and was designed by a team from Shanghai. Visually shocking, it is using the same idea of many other wireless air quality sensors; building an air quality map of the city via crowd-sourced data monitoring.