Bicycles

Bike-mounted Air device monitors air quality along cyclists' routes

Bike-mounted Air device monito...
The SODAQ Air will soon be on Kickstarter
The SODAQ Air will soon be on Kickstarter
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The SODAQ Air will soon be on Kickstarter
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The SODAQ Air will soon be on Kickstarter
A diagram of the Air's components
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A diagram of the Air's components
The new version of the Air is easier to install and remove than the original model
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The new version of the Air is easier to install and remove than the original model
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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.

The new version of the Air is easier to install and remove than the original model
The new version of the Air is easier to install and remove than the original model

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.

Source: SODAQ

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3 comments
3 comments
CarolynFarstrider
I am left wondering what the cyclist should do if they find that the air quality is poor. Cycle somewhere else? Petition their Member of Parliament? Join Extinction Rebellion? All of the above? An interesting device if it can indeed detect all the various toxic elements arising from high volumes of road traffic and industrial or residential emissions, but the solution to air pollution requires tackling at its source, and responsibility for this should not be allowed to rest with the vulnerable recipients of the pollution.
yopo
In response to the previous comment - in a perfect world, you are correct. But this isn't a perfect world and we cannot depend on the good intentions of polluters to stop polluting. Putting thousands of sniffers on bikes, proactively sampling the air, would provide data to generally locate areas of concern, which would help focus efforts to identify and put pressure on polluters. It puts power in the hands of citizens, which is always a good outcome.
Nelson Hyde Chick
So you'l know the air you are riding through is bad, what can you do about it, not breath?