Life in many of today's big cities unfortunately brings with it exposure to dense particle pollution. As a result, urban residents from Beijing, China to Santiago, Chile face serious health risks, such as heart and lung disease and premature death. A new US-based startup has developed a pocket-sized pollution monitor it hopes will serve as a warning system, by constantly assessing the environment while the user is on the go and alerting them when air quality drops to unacceptable levels.
In the last year we've seen a number of small, sensor-packed air quality trackers designed to detect levels of dangerous particles in the air. Though these have so far been intended for our homes, researchers at Melbourne's RMIT University have made progress toward fitting smartphones with pollution tracking functions for a more portable solution, while Google is even looking at integrating air quality data into Street View.
Shaped as a small, titanium cylinder, Atmotube features a sensor designed to detect the presence of gases like carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air, while also measuring temperature and moisture. An LED on the front of the device indicates air quality, with colors ranging from blue for good to red for severely polluted. But the device also connects via Bluetooth LE to mobile devices to provide a more precise reading through a companion app (iOS and Android), which displays an air quality rating out of 100.
The app carries a couple of other handy features as well, including the ability to alert you when air quality drops below a pre-defined number (this can be configured in the settings), and gathering data from all users to compile a crowd-sourced map of air quality across the globe.
Weighing 1.4 oz (40 g), Atmotube is very much designed to be tossed in your bag or connected to your key ring (there's a clip on its base). It charges via a USB 3.1 port, with the battery claimed to last about one month per charge.
Atmotube is currently the subject of an Indiegogo campaign, where early pledges of US$85 are available. Shipping is slated for March 2016 if everything goes to plan.
You can check out the Atmotube pitch video below.