Dyson Zone an Unnecessary Product or Innovation?

I wanted some time to pass before I write my thoughts on Dyson’s new product called “Zone”.

For those who don’t know who Dyson is, Dyson is a company known for its innovative and unique products (mainly vacuum cleaners) and it has recently released a new product that combines two seemingly unrelated items: headphones and air purifiers. The Dyson Zone headphones are a pair of noise-canceling Bluetooth headphones with air purification technology built in. I don’t want to focus on the headphone but on the purification capabilities for individuals.


1st Point: We live in a society where individualism becomes stronger and stronger over time and instead of fixing the air pollution for all we are thinking about how to protect only ourselves, not even our kids or family. The device is not capable of stopping pollutants from getting into the wearer’s body and a n95 mask is more effective because it seals better.

2nd Point: Dyson may have applied the Loss Leader Strategy, in which Dyson has spent millions on the development of the product just to reinforce itself in the market as an innovative company. The product costs USD 1,000 which makes it prohibited for anyone to purchase, in my opinion. Dyson has spent lots of money on marketing as you will see the pay-to-play strategy in action as every tech magazine and Youtuber has received a product for “review”.

3rd Point: The snap-on “visor”. I could have worn the device as headphones, but I will never put a piece of cheap plastic in front of my mouth the way they have implemented it. First of all, I want to be able to communicate, and second I want to share my smile with people.

4th Point: All headphones with noise cancelation fall under this category. They pose a safety risk to pedestrians, especially in environments with moving vehicles where the Dyson Zone is specifically designed to be used.

5th Point: Let me make it clear. Dyson Zone and any HEPA-like filter cannot remove gases (NO2, SO2, NO, CO, CO2, NH3, etc.). Many of these gases are present in urban environments. Dyson can only block particles but remember the visor does not seal around your face so particles most likely will overpass it.

6th Point: Finally, and that comes from a medical doctor, having a constant airflow in your airway will dry your upper respiratory tract (nostril and nasal cavity) and eventually may make you more susceptible to infections.

All in all, my criticism may be harsh, but this is not my aim. I want companies to create sustainable products that make a difference in society. Please don’t forget we share the air we breathe, so let’s make a difference together and for all.


Webinar: Air Quality Data Analysis, Visualization and Statistical Modelling

Air quality analysis is a complex task that requires a variety of tools and methods for successful completion. One such tool is R language and the IMS software by Particles Plus. This combination of software is well suited for air quality analysis due to its comprehensive statistical capabilities, ability to integrate with existing air quality data sources, and its powerful visualization capabilities.

Rich vs Poor – Is Air Pollution Fair?

Air pollution is an environmental problem that affects everyone in the world, regardless of their socio-economic status. Rich or poor, we all share the same air, and when it is polluted, it affects us all. Whether it is the air of a city or a rural area, air pollution is a problem that cannot be ignored.

Air pollution occurs when harmful pollutants are released into the atmosphere. These pollutants can come from a variety of sources, including factories, cars, wood stoves, and even forest fires. Air pollutants can be in the form of gases, such as nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide, or particles, such as soot, black carbon, and dust.

Rich or poor, everyone breathes the same air, and when it is polluted, it can lead to a variety of health issues. Air pollution can cause respiratory problems, such as asthma and bronchitis, as well as cardiovascular diseases. It can also increase the risk of cancer and other serious illnesses. Even if you don’t have any immediate health issues, air pollution can still affect your quality of life. It can make it difficult to do everyday activities, such as going for a jog or playing outdoors with your kids.

However, rich people have the resources to manage air pollution better than poor people as they are in a better position to purchase air purifiers and other air quality products. Additionally, they can have access to medical support.

I want to focus on how rich people can use their influence to encourage corporate responsibility. Companies can invest in clean energy technologies, reduce their own emissions, and invest in research and development of new air pollution abatement technologies. They can also provide incentives for employees to use public transportation, carpool, and ride bikes in order to reduce emissions from transportation. They can invest in clean energy technology, such as solar, wind, or hydroelectric power, that can reduce emissions from burning fossil fuels.

Rich people can also donate money to organizations that are actively fighting air pollution. This could be anything from supporting research into new clean energy sources to funding campaigns that promote public awareness of air pollution. They can also use their influence to lobby governments to pass laws and regulations that help to reduce air pollution.

All in all, air pollution doesn’t discriminate against rich or poor, but rich people have the necessary tools to protect themselves and influence others, do you agree?

Visiting India – In need for Clean Air

I had the chance to visit New Delhi and Agra in India due to an annual conference that we had to assist. I was well informed about the poor air quality in the area, so I was prepared to breathe some pollution. I have read many articles and heard many testimonials about the situation there but still, a visit in situ helps someone understand the issue on a whole new level.

Some weeks ago, I published an article on “Why is Air Pollution Invisible” and I think during my visit to India I experienced all of the points clearly.

Immediately, once you come out of the aircraft, you can smell the air pollution. It is everywhere, indoors and outdoors. Even waiting in the immigration line for clearance you can smell it. I didn’t have the instrument in hand at that point in order to measure the concentrations, but from my experience and because air pollution was visible due to high levels, I estimate concentrations of 100μg/m3 of PM2.5. I want to make clear that I was still indoors.

From there, I headed to the hotel in a taxi. As you may imagine, the air quality was not better, but quite the opposite as the fumes from the relentless amount of unregulated vehicles were spewing everything they had in their engines. Particles of all sizes and gas fumes. Interestingly, more than 90% of the vehicle in the streets were occupied by only one person, the driver. On top of the air pollution in the streets, you can add noise pollution as the use of car horns is a tradition in India.

I managed to arrive at the hotel after a small accident with the car (no damages) where I took the air quality monitor out of my luggage in order to measure the conditions in the room. Unfortunately, it wasn’t safe either. The mean PM2.5 concentration during my stay was around 50μg/m3.

The hotel had some small air purifiers in the hallway, but the coverage area was too big for them to handle properly. I looked at the filters and they were pure black, who knows for how long they were running without replacement.

On day two, my nose didn’t register the smell of smoke anymore. I was one of them! Unable to smell the pollution and consequently remind myself that I need to find clean air. This is what happens to locals that don’t have options, eventually, they forget.

For simplicity, here you can see my PM2.5 exposure for the last date of my trip before coming back home. However, the particle counts for the smaller particles like 0.3μm and 0.5μm, which get lost with mass concentration values, were even higher reaching counts of around 400,000,000 particles per m3 and 40,000,000 particles per m3, respectively. By the way, according to the locals, I visited New Delhi during a good AQ time.

Enough with the AQ data, we know it is really bad, my main question was where all this air pollution comes from. Most people will tell me that it is due to vehicle emissions and domestic burning. Still, it doesn’t make sense though because the weather was warm and there was no need to burn logs for heating. Additionally, the issue was persisting all day and night. So after a conversation with a local professor, he pointed out that the main source was waste management. Basically, they burn garbage and these eternal fires create the smog that persists in the city and makes people really sick.

I talked about the car horns, but you will also hear many people cough. It’s normal as their lungs are suffering from chronic exposure to toxic air pollutants.

There is some good news, though. Once the local people realize the source of pollution as I did, they can fix it. New Delhi is populated by 15,000,000 people and I understand that the amount of waste they generate is equivalent to that number, but the management of the waste can’t be “burn it, it will disappear” because it doesn’t. Finally, vehicles need some kind of control and annual revisions that will force the drivers to maintain the car in optimal conditions like EURO 6 compliance does in Europe.

Tamagotchi for Air Quality

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!

Indoor Air Quality Do’s and Don’ts

When it comes to indoor air we have to be very careful because common activities can deteriorate the air quality very fast. Apart from the fact that we spend a lot of time indoors, an indoor environment needs more time to recover once air pollution become present because houses tend to be very tight and don’t allow the dilution of pollutants as fast as ambient air.

Even people that are very conscious, like myself, commit mistakes. The other day, for example, I was preparing caramel syrup for a holiday dessert, and as I wasn’t paying attention to the caramel (because I was multitasking), the caramel burnt. In a matter of seconds, IAQ dropped significantly. VOCs and PMx concentrations rose. At that moment and based on the outdoor conditions, I decided that it was more appropriate to open all windows in order to dilute the pollutants fast. Cross ventilation to the rescue!

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2022: Year in Review – See The Air

2022 was a year full of air quality news. Lots of scientific research and publications on how air pollution influences the health of individuals, but also the same bad patterns; wildfires, traffic, wood burning, crop burning, industrial malpractices, etc. For reference, kids who breathe polluted air can fall behind in school link, air pollution linked to a million stillbirths a year link, tiny particles in the air can cause sudden heart attacks link, air pollution during pregnancy and neurodevelopment in children link, and unfortunately many many more.

An important good piece of news was the new ‘Ella Bill’ to enshrine right to clean air. Thank you Rosamund Adoo Kissi Debrah.

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Wood Burning Patterns!

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.

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The Dark Side of the Wood Stove Industry

You probably have seen “cozy” images of fireplaces or wood stoves with happy people, a blanket around them, and a hot beverage and you may have thought that’s something very appealing, I want that! Well, I would suggest thinking twice before taking that decision and if you have already taken it, maybe it’s time to undo your mistake.

You see, people get sick thanks to these “cozy” elements in houses. It’s very hard to undo the brain wash the wood stove industry has done all of these years but we have to realize that wood burning is neither sustainable nor healthy.

Many claims that biomass is sustainable but this is a myth. A story designed to push people into spending money for status or simple ineffective heating. You see, clean energy (wind, solar, etc) doesn’t require the user to buy fuel, logs, or pellets every season. It is there for us but doesn’t generate constant revenue for the companies.

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Should Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles come with a permanent sticker on the back similar to the Tobacco packaging?

I think we have come to a point in time where we are well aware of the dangers internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles hide as they emit a tremendous amount of toxic pollutants that have a direct health impact on dwellers, especially in cities.

Nowadays, going to the center of a city by car is unnecessary and very impractical. However, many still insist on taking their huge SUVs even for a trip within a walking distance. Walking distance means going from one point to another no farther than 1,5 km / 1 mile or 15 minutes in time. I don’t think you will go any faster if you take your car because of all the hassle that it involves (parking, getting on board, load stuff, etc).

Schools here in Europe are within walking distances. This is the reason your kid cannot go to a school in a different district. Even then though, parents form huge queue outside of the schools in order to drop off their kids every single morning. No! It’s time to walk!

I believe cars should come with a permanent sticker on the rear side similar to the tobacco packaging in order to make people think and react. The sticker cannot be removed or covered by law. Maybe you will turn off the engine while waiting or not forcing the car to start even when new cars hibernate the engine automatically in traffic lights.

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