Review: SODAQ AIR – An Air Quality Monitor for Your Bike/Your Lungs

More and more people choose to ride a bike for their daily commutes and although SODAQ AIR is not the first air quality monitor for a bike, it is the first to have collected over 20M data points. This is particularly import for the development of an IoT air quality monitor as the developers have enough information to debug and develop a super stable product that needs very little troubleshooting from its users.

SODAQ is not a new company as it was founded back in 2013, and they have been working on this particular project (SODAQ AIR) alone since 2015. It seems that consumer satisfaction is always their priority, which is very important nowadays as we need sustainable products that will last for a long time.

Specifications

  • PM Sensor PM1, PM2.5, and PM10
  • Temperature and Humidity
  • GPS
  • Accelerometer
  • LTE-M & NB-IoT networks
  • RGB LED
  • USB-C
  • Supercapacitor (Li-ion battery in my case)

The PM Sensor takes air samples very fast, every 10 second, which is very important for a moving AQ monitor as it can create a rich spatial-temporal AQ map.

The temperature and humidity sensors work as fast as the PM sensor. You can also visualize them on the map in the same way as the PM values.

All data are shared anonymously on the web at www.knowyourair.net but you can also have private access to your data which you can download later on. I will talk about the dashboard later.

The monitor is equipped with an LTE-M & NB-IoT module which is the first of its kind. An LTE-M & NB-IoT module means you don’t have to sync your phone or your WiFi network with the device. It is a pure plug-and-play solution that works almost anywhere there is a cellular connection, the same way your mobile phone works. The built-in accelerometer will turn on the device once it detects any movement and it will turn the device off after 5 minutes of stillness.

The AIR will come with a supercapacitor instead of a common Li-ion battery. My version though came with a Lithium-Ion battery which averages between 500-10,000 life cycles before needing to be replaced. Supercapacitors however have a life span of up to 1 million cycles and they last for 8 hours. Typically, you won’t cycle more than 2h per day. To charge the monitor you simply plug the USB-C cable for two hours.

Subscribe to get access the comparison

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Dashboard and Open Data

The dashboard is based on the well-known ThingBoard platform. There you can do all sorts of things, create average values, see the maximum values, export the data, view the graphs, and visualize your route on the map. You need to have a valid subscription to access the dashboard as the monitor comes with one year of free subscription which actually pays the LTE-M & NB-IoT network fees.

The open data platform is hosted on a different domain www.knowyourair.net. This is open to all and can view data from all the users anonymously. However, soon the dashboard site will be merged with the KnowYourAIR website and users will do everything that they would on ThingBoard on the KnowYourAIR.

My Experience

I really like the product, it definitely offers a solution to riders that need to find less polluted routes, and the more users the better the maps. You don’t have to worry at all to sync the data to the cloud as they are synced automatically and in real-time which is a plus for the less tech-savvy users.

The simple turn-lock mount is designed to mount and unmount the monitor fast (blazing fast) which is good but I found a small weakness. In some limited cases, you may unmount the monitor accidentally. In my case, I was trying to bring the bike indoors one day and my front body pushed the monitor and caused it to turn, as a result, it almost fell on the ground. I guess I have to find a better way to bring my bike inside but I think a lock mechanism (push and turn) could prevent this kind of issue in the future.

I have noticed that the mounting mechanism has a magnet which leads me to the conclusion that they may include a Magnetic Switch that will allow the device to stay on only when it is mounted. Right now the monitor relies on motion in order to stay on and if you place it inside a bag to carry it on, let say into your office it will stay on.

The monitor is weatherproof but don’t expect that it can hold a blizzard. It can support light to medium rain. Although there is an air pocket designed to allow the inlet of the sensor to work well isokinetically with the normal speed of cycling, I haven’t noticed any particular algorithm that kicks in to deliver even better results but I don’t have the equipment to support the theory.

Conclusion

Although I have learned not to write reviews for products that are in the initial stage because sometimes the companies are unable to deliver them, in the case of the SODAQ AIR I did an exception because I saw that the company is really working hard to deliver the monitors at the end of the April at least for the Kickstarter backers as they are already in production. If you weren’t one of the first backers, you can still purchase the monitor here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s