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!
I live in an area where wood burning is an unfortunate “cozy” habit for the people around me. So, I decided to see if patterns appear after monitoring the ambient air quality for 30 days in order to identify if there is any window that will allow me to open the windows and get some fresh & clean air. For the sake of simplicity, I will use only PM2.5 values.
I don’t mind if I have to wake up at 3:00 AM in order to allow some outdoor air to come inside and dilute some VOC and CO2 that build up. Indoors, PM2.5 concentrations are kept well under 5μg/m3 because I run the air purifiers 24/7. By the way in a recent, poster the position of the air purifier inside the house plays an important role in how well particles are captured.
Anyway, let’s jump into the data I collected and analyzed.
The famous list with all the available indoor air quality monitors is finally updated. In this version there are two tabs. Air quality monitors for consumers (B2C) and for businesses (B2B). As always, I stay away from knockoffs and cheap products. An air quality monitor needs to function properly for 5 to 10 years depending the sensors − gas sensors tend to have a shorter lifespan.
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View Plus is the flagship air quality monitor from Airthings which was designed to address as many indoor parameters as possible and it complies with Green Building Certification.
The philosophy behind Airthings air quality monitors is simple. They try to make B2C and B2B clients’ life easy. One clear example is that all monitors, including the View Plus, work on simple AA batteries in order to avoid installation fees (from construction workers) and ugly cables running all over the walls.
Nowadays, it is a privilege to have access to a real indoor environment where you can measure and quantify indoor environmental quality (IEQ). It is not an easy task because most companies keep AQ data private, and we totally respect that. However, sometimes tapping into the real world data is fundamental in order to understand the conditions white color employees and employers work in an effort to improve work conditions and productivity.
The owner of the building and the office granted me access to installing the Atmocube IAQ monitor for two months, in order to figure out what improvements shall apply in their effort to mitigate covid19, improve working conditions and boost productivity. The office is located in Almeria, Spain which is a coastal city.
They don’t have any mechanical ventilation systems, so the indoor conditions were subject to their human actions and whether they opened the windows/doors or not.
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.
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.
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.
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).