Bike-mounted Air device monitors air quality along cyclists' routes
Because many cyclists ride all over town, they encounter a wide range of air quality – more so than could be monitored by stationary sensors. The handlebar-mounted Air was designed with that in mind, as it measures the air quality while its user pedals.
Back in 2015, Dutch tech company SODAQ built the first Air prototype. Two years later it was used in the Snuffelfiets (Sniffer Bike) project, run by the Province of Utrecht, data specialist Civity, and the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and Environment.
Although only 10 cyclists were initially equipped with the devices, that number was expanded to 500 in 2019. Since then, the technology has entered use in Norway, Sweden, Italy and France. Now, SODAQ hopes to extend it to a global market, with a new-and-improved version of the Air.
The latest model is smaller, "smarter" and easier to mount/dismount than the original, utilizing onboard sensors to measure the concentration of fine particulate matter, air temperature and humidity once every 10 seconds. That data is transmitted to an online global air quality map once an hour, via LTE-M and NarrowBand IoT (Internet-of-Things) networks. People can then access that map to check the air quality locally, along their bike route, or throughout the world.
Users can also set the Air to work as stationary sensor at their home or workplace, when their bike isn't in motion. However it's being used, it will alert its user to changes in local air quality via an LED that changes colors accordingly. Power is not provided by a battery, but instead by a supercapacitor.
The new global version of the Air will be the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, set to begin on Nov. 16th. There's currently no word on pricing, or on whether or not there will be a data fee. Potential backers can check the company website for updates.