Do you remember the Tamagotchi from the 90s? A small and portable digital pet that you had to take care of in order to keep it “alive”?
Wouldn’t it be great to create the same pet but with the only difference that it breathes air and air quality information is taken into account in order to determine its survival chances? I think it will engage people and help them not to get accustomed to the presence of poor AQ. Poor air quality can be due to the presence of particle pollution but also high CO2 levels indoors which will make the character sleepy.
A while ago, I wrote a similar article on Gamification and Air Quality. Same approach but even more fun! Kids will definitely try to keep the character alive, and it doesn’t even require hardware as it can be an app on your phone. Outdoor air quality data are available all over the world, so there is no problem there, but we need to think about how to implement indoor AQ data into the algorithm that calculates Tamagotchi’s health. Remember we spend most of our time indoors.
In this case, a small wearable monitor would be the best. However, 3rd party companies with Indoor AQ monitors will need to give access to the application that runs the companion character. That way, the character can be updated and engage with the user more often based on real data.
A software service will rise here as the company that decides to commercialize such a feature will have to build something similar to what Amazon, ecobee, or Apple with HomeKit provides in order to feed the app with air.
I don’t like the name Tamagotchi a lot, plus there are some copyright issues there, so let’s name our character Nicholas from the titular character of my kid’s books. Nicholas has superpowers and can see particulate pollutants. I cannot imagine a better companion!
In my effort to help clean air communities to raise awareness (I am not only words), I decided to design three simple circular stickers which I will distribute to the communities once the poll is closed and you have selected the best sticker.
Choose one between the three of them and apply to get stickers once the poll is closed. You can apply for the winning sticker via the contact page. Thank you!
In 2021, IKEA made available an indoor air quality monitor, which is very very affordable. I bought one because I was curious to answer some basic questions like how did they manage to build and sell a particulate matter sensor that costs only 14€ or US$12 but also how smart and reliable is it in relation to other monitors.
IKEA is obsessed with naming all their products with Swedish words, so the AQ monitor VINDRIKTNING (which I can’t pronounce) translates as Wind Direction. Obviously, they don’t aim to create names memorable to people’s minds.
Let me share a story with you. Long before covid19 (2018 if I remember well) I and a company I worked for, decided to pitch IKEA into building an AQ monitor as I saw their interest in air quality because they designed some photocatalyst curtains that neutralized VOCs back then. Unfortunately, they turned us down, but I think we planted a seed into them. Long story short in 2021 they released the VINDRIKTNING.
On Earth, there are over 7 billion people but very few of them have a clear vision of a future and how important air quality is for our health. You will find politicians that are unwilling to enforce air quality laws, you will find educators scared to share with parents the indoor air quality, and you will find lots of people unaware of what they breathe or what they burn.
Among all of them, you will find very few people that want to make things right for the rest. In this case, the Head of School at Prem Tinsulanonda International School in Chiang Mai, Thailand was brave and educated enough to recognize the power of air quality data.
Chiang Mai is a city in exotic Thailand that always ranks in the top polluted cities in the world between March and April. The reason is the burning season. I was taught about the 4 seasons (Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter) at school but it turns out that they have a fifth season − normally in March and April − when crop waste burning and forest fires fill the air with particles, PM2.5 levels can reach 300 μg/m³.