Info Tech: Air Visual, An Electronic That Can Monitor The Quality Of Air

People typically think about clean or dirty air only when
they’re outside, but air quality can be a significant problem
even indoors.


Now, using a new gadget, people can
identify pollutants some smaller than the width of a hair in their homes, and this could help ward off some
illnesses, the device’s creators said.
AirVisual a global team of scientists, engineers and
others is producing the gadget, called the AirVisual
Node. The Node’s bright and colorful screen can illuminate
pollution , temperature, humidity and stuffiness, both
indoors and outdoors. The team hopes to change the
approach to air-quality collection, said Yann Boquillod, co-
founder of AirVisual.

Using this monitor, “I have the visibility of how much
pollution my children are breathing,” he said.
Indoor air pollution can come from stove tops, fireplaces
and wood products, among other sources, according to the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Burning food,
especially, can release contaminant laden smoke into the
air, Boquillod said. The Node can identify these
contaminants, which can include microscope particles, or
particulate matter, called PM2.5. The “2.5” comes from the
diameter of the particle, which is 2.5 micrometers. “It’s a
very tiny particle, much smaller than a hair,” Boquillod said.

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The device relies on a powerful algorithm that identifies the
size and number of particles for each intake and
extrapolates data from successive intakes to determine
overall air pollution, Boquillod said. In addition to
examining particles, the device also measures carbon
dioxide levels, which can indicate how well a room is
ventilated. The larger the amount of concentrated carbon
dioxide there is, the stuffier a room tends to be.

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When carbon
dioxide reaches 1,000 ppm, the environment is confined
and needs some fresh air, and when the level rises to 1,500
ppm, people will start to feel poorly, he said. When the level
soars to 2,000 ppm, it’s time to ventilate and exit, Boquillod

The best place to gather air-quality data is wherever you
spend the most time, Boquillod said, which could be the
bedroom or living room. The Node can also be used to
measure air pollution outdoors, though the device needs to
be in the shade, away from wind and shielded from rain.
The Node can connect to the Internet to send outdoor air-
quality measurements to AirVisual, which is planning to
consolidate and share the data worldwide.

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The AirVisual Node sells for $149 (est. N59,000) and has collected
$25,500 (est. N10,072,500) or 255 percent of its initial $10,000 goal, on
Indiegogo. There are 18 days left in the crowdfunding
campaign, and the Airvisual team plans to deliver the
gadget in April, Boquillod said.


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