Review: Atmocube Air Quality Monitor by ATMO

The need for indoor air quality monitoring solutions hasn’t stopped increasing due to two main factors. The market is constantly demanding tailored solutions to meet Green Building standards and, of course, Covid19. Many have bought cheap and generic indoor AQ monitors from big retail stores, but after a while, they realized that their money went down the drain as there is nothing they can do with the data they obtained for two reasons. The AQ monitors didn’t keep the measurements or the accuracy of the data was poor.

Here comes Atmocube, a new indoor air quality monitor designed entirely to meet occupants’ requirements for indoor air quality. The design language is modern and functional. I underlined functional because you don’t need to be an expert to understand what is wrong with the IAQ and which specific parameter you need to address, I will explain more about it in a minute. Finally, the monitor is full of superb sensors, nine to be exact.

Read More »

Review: Kunak Air PRO – Ambient Air Quality Monitor

Time to talk seriously about ambient air pollution and how technology can help us see and consequently mitigate it. According to a 2016 report, the annual cost of air pollution has to the global health care system has risen to US$ 176 billion from US$ 21 billion in 2015 and the number of workdays lost to air pollution-related illness bounces to 3.7 billion from 1.2 billion. According to another report, ambient air pollution kills more than 3 million people across the globe every year but more importantly causes health problems that increase the annual health care budget.

Unfortunately, air pollution is not taken very seriously by governments and society because we tend to dismiss things we can’t see or understand. Here comes Kunak which is one of the leading companies in the field of monitoring air pollution accurately. Recently, the monitor Kunak Air PRO has been rewarded at the AirLab Challenge 2021 as the most accurate multi-pollutant ambient monitor and it is made in Spain.

Experts, academics, the city, and policymakers all need air quality monitors in order to quantify the ambient air, get the right conclusions about the situation, and finally, make the right decision on how to mitigate the pollution and the health care costs. As you can understand the accuracy of the monitor is very crucial and Kunak delivers great results.

Read More »

Particly NFT & Blockchain Air Quality Awareness

In December 2021, I introduced Particly, a mascot which I will use as a tool to educate people about air pollution through social media. What you don’t know is that Particly is available as an NFT art and collectible since then. A non-fungible token (NFT) is a unique and non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a digital ledger. NFTs can be associated with easily-reproducible items such as photos, videos, 3D models, audio, and other types of digital files as unique items. Air Quality deserves a place in the WEB3 Metaverse in an effort to raise awareness.

For those who know me, I always look ahead in time in my effort to find different ways to embrace awareness and engage people. I love new challenges.

Read More »

2021: Year in Review – See The Air

One more year has passed, one more orbit around the Sun, but still in many places of the world air pollution remains the number one threat for the health of the dwellers and the stability of the ecosystem. The political unwillingness to address air pollution and lots of green-washing from companies haven’t alleviated the situation anywhere. Sad, but even the COP26 was a bit of a fiasco as the leaders of this planet and the majority of the population are still trying to process the information of climate change and air pollution. Apparently, the world doesn’t want to sacrifice convince over the quality of life and life expectancy.

Megalomania and individualism are tearing the ecosystem apart and polarizing the society into left or right, pro-climate or anti-climate, pro-clean air (anapneism), or burn as much fossil fuel, waste and wood as possible. Plastic pollution is another big issue as well.

Read More »

Review: AIRINUM Lite Air Mask

It has been a long time since I reviewed a face mask. This mask review is all about how to protect yourself from ambient air pollution while commuting rather than from Covid-19. The mask can protect you from COVID because it is KN95 certified, which is similar to FFP2 and N95, but as most people use simple disposable surgical masks for their low price, I won’t focus on it. For this review, I decided to focus on air pollution which is a more severe threat in my opinion. Keep in mind, cheap surgical masks are useless and they pollute a lot more than they protect as they are thrown all around us by most people. We all have seen them flying around or on the ground or inside the sea. I am against disposable masks.

The AIRINUM Lite Air Mask offers great protection from particulate matter but also a modern and young style. I have been wearing the Aurora Blue for three weeks already and I am impressed by its performance.

Read More »

Review: Amazon Air Quality Monitor | Worth it?

Amazon, the big and multinational technology company which focuses on e-commerce has decided to enter into the game of indoor air quality in a rather surprising way. I will explain why in a minute.

In November 2021, Amazon announced that they will build and sell an air quality monitor. I was the first to discover that the monitor will feature the brand new SEN54 Node by Sensirion which is an all-in-one sensor solution for the measurement of particulate matter, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), humidity, and temperature. Amazon offered a great deal to Sensirion because the Node isn’t available to others yet. 

By the way, back in 2018, I contacted Amazon for the development of an Indoor Air Quality Monitor, but they weren’t aware of the Indoor AQ situation then, however, in the pandemic they grasped the business opportunity. Indoor AQ is a huge deal and even though they didn’t collaborate with me (no hard feelings).

Read More »

What does my air filter reveal about my indoor environment? In-Depth Filter Analysis by Camfil

We have indoor air quality monitors and purifiers to manage indoor air, but even the most intelligent domestic devices cannot inspect all the air pollutants present in our indoor spaces, so I thought it was about time to send a filter from the main air purifier to a laboratory for analysis in order to identify all the pollutants that have been present in my house. Maybe there is something I am not aware!

I try my best to keep outdoor pollutants from entering inside like smoke from wood-burning stoves or fumes from vehicle traffic. However, we are humans and we make mistakes, so sometimes we burn the food or introduce pollutants indoors unconsciously.

We humans can smell some pollutants like PAHs or VOCs but sometimes we are unable to detect heavy metals or other pollutants that our nose isn’t able to register, yet we may breathe them. Air purifiers or central HVAC with a filtration system capture those pollutants in the filter media. Then we can analyze the filter and discover aspects of the pollution we hadn’t thought about before.

Read More »

AirGradient DIY Indoor & Outdoor Air Quality Monitor

Countless times I have mentioned that we need to monitor indoor and outdoor air quality. This is an essential step in order to have a holistic approach to air pollution that surrounds us in both environments. Unfortunately, not everybody can afford to buy two monitors but thanks to the community and AirGradient there are two DIY solutions that can help us monitor the air quality quite accurately and of course, manage the air we breathe better.

AirGradient’s DIY solution is more appealing than the competition for many reasons. First of all, you can buy directly the DIY Kit with all the electronic components from them including the PCB. The PCB is the board where we will deploy all the sensors, WiFi module, and display. That is a huge benefit because you don’t have to search on the internet and purchase the components one by one. The well-designed PCB will also help us keep the monitor neat and small without unnecessary cables. Secondly, Air Gradient’s DIY AQ Monitor is very customizable allowing us to build an indoor monitor with an NDIR CO2 sensor but another one without a CO2 sensor or display for the outdoor environment. If you don’t want temperature/humidity sensors you can easily omit them too, but I highly recommend them. Moreover, there is software support as a community of passionate people have been improving the firmware constantly. Finally, the solution comes with a web dashboard where you can manage all the monitors and take advantage of the histograms and tools like the alerts.

Additionally, the devices which are connected to the cloud and the dashboard can broadcast the measurements back to a separate display (Viewport) which allows us to see the air quality indoors and outdoors like in the example below. Isn’t that very cool?

It has been a long time since I soldered something, so I was very happy to build the monitor. I built two monitors by following the fairly easy instruction here. There is also a video with the instructions here by Jeff Geerling.

Read More »

Outdoor Air Quality Monitors 2021Q4

What’s new? Well, lots of new Outdoor Air Quality Monitors have been released into the market for various purposes and different budgets. Air quality monitors for professional use in cities and industrial sites and homeowners who want to supervise the ambient air quality outside their houses/apartments.

This time, I have included the General Star Score from the AIRLAB Challenge 2021 for the monitors that took part. The Ethera NEMo Outdoor monitor scored the highest with 4.5 Stars out of 5.

uRADMonitor with the Smoggie and City models scored 4/5 and 3.5/5, respectably. Also the Kunak Air Pro which I will review soon scored 4/5. It is great to see that all these solutions deliver accurate results.

If you would like to download the document please consider donating or subscribing to my blog in order for me to continue creating helpful content for all.

3+1 Habits for Healthy Lungs

Our lungs are the first main organs to interact with the breathing air but remember almost all our organs will eventually receive something from the air we inhaled — ideally Oxygen. OK, let’s take a step back to remind ourselves of the composition of the air in our atmosphere. The composition of the atmospheric air is 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen, 0.9% Argon, 0.04% Carbon Dioxide, and other trace gases and aerosols that in most cases are the pollutants that will deplete our health. You see, our modern lifestyle and the constant burning of fossil fuels (of any form including wood burning) has changed the balance and composition of the air in neighborhoods and cities. As a result, we end up with abnormal concentrations of pollutants like particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, etc in the breathing air.

From an evolutionary perspective, our bodies are not designed to deal with the fine particles or the notorious toxic gases that are released into the atmosphere from our wrong investment in fossil fuels. With the exception of our gastrointestinal system which can discard unnecessary solids or liquid, our lungs cannot get rid of the air pollutants so they stuck and accumulate inside us. Some may be filtered by the liver.

Our noses or even our upper respiratory tracks can trap some coarse particulate matter, but there isn’t any mechanism to trap fine-PM or nanoparticles or gases, as a result, they end up reaching our lungs and the alveolar sacs where the exchange between oxygen and carbon dioxide occurs. The pollutants can pass that barrier or even they are stuck there resulting in inflammation responses and trust me we don’t want inflammation anywhere. I don’t want to dive too deep regarding what’s going on inside us when air pollution reaches our organs because it gets ugly.

What can we do to keep our lungs and the rest of our organs healthy and happy?

Avoid Ambient Air Pollution & Fix Your Indoor Air Quality

The first and obvious thing to do is to avoid air pollution. Some apps can help you find the best route in case you commute. However, sometimes it is hard to bypass polluted and busy roads. For this reason, we need to prevent pollution from being released into the atmosphere in the first place. How? By educating the rest. I know it is a hard task but it doesn’t have to be a chore. Just convince one close person and teach him or her how to do the same with another person close to them. If we have learned something from COVID-19 is how fast something can spread.

Indoor air quality is something we have to pay closer attention to. Sometimes we dismiss the fact that we spend a lot of time indoors and outdoor pollution slips inside or we create indoor air pollution. We had better demand better indoor quality in our workplaces as we spend a lot of time there too. Quantify the pollution with an indoor air quality monitor as it is the easiest way to take control of your air. Remember, no one is looking after your indoor air quality, except you!

Work Out

I love exercising, well no! Hear me out, I love the feeling of achievement each time I complete a physical workout because I know it benefits me on so many levels, including my lungs.

Full disclosure, I only exercise and recommend it to people when air quality is excellent and this is a condition that I have to follow 100% because when we exercise the demand for air increases, and our respiratory rates jump from about 15 times a minute to about 50 times a minute.

When we exercise we increase the capacity of air our lungs can hold and we increase the blood flow to our lungs, allowing the lungs to deliver more oxygen into the blood. Exercise reduces our blood pressure and improves our overall cardiac function so that our heart can pump more blood with each heartbeat. That means that our heart beats less time per minute, as a result, we extend its life span.

Don’t run next to busy streets! Indoors, make sure the air quality is excellent too.

Eat Healthy Food & Drink Healthy Beverages

We are what we eat, drink and breathe, so invest in healthy and vibrant food like seasonal fruit and veggies. Meat is also important but during a whole week dedicate one or two days to meatless meals. There are plenty of delicious, inexpensive, and climate-friendly recipes. I could recommend some so feel free to ask me. I don’t believe in strict diets but in well-balanced diets.

Unfortunately, the food and beverage industry is adding sugar and salt to make food and drinks more interesting for many decades, as a result, we are unable to distinguish the real flavor of a meal. My approach is to search for the taste of the plain food or drink. I can taste water, can you? Drink a cup of organic coffee or tea without sugar and try to find the notes of the different elements.

Our lungs need food and drinks rich in nutrients and antioxidants like vitamins, minerals, healthy fat, fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates. These nutrients will reverse some of the damages and inflammation air pollution will cause to our lungs during our walk in the city center where traffic is awful. Did you know that the lungs are responsible for the transpiration of the “burned” calories out of our bodies in the form of carbon dioxide?

Meditate

Meditate once a day if you can, but don’t burn stuff! I have seen people burning incense or dry plants (sage) when they meditate in their effort to create a pleasant indoor environment but these practices release a lot of particulate matter and VOCs which end up inside them.

Meditation and some breathing techniques are designed to strengthen the lungs and the muscles around them. People who suffer from asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other lung diseases may benefit from practicing them, according to some scientific studies but make sure to ask your doctor.