Most urban dwellers are aware of the fact that the quality of air in major city centers hasn’t been the same in the last decade or so. The deterioration is mainly due to the large number of vehicles plying on the road and rapid industrialization along with the ever growing need of energy. Even after all this, urban residents don’t always get to know the exact figures of the toxic ingredients in air which they are breathing in. To answer the problems, scientists at the University of California, San Diego, have come up with a portable air quality monitoring device, which can beam relevant data to the user’s Smartphone.
Providing real-time air quality figures, the device dubbed CitiSense, helps measure concentrations of ozone, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide, gases commonly emitted by internal combustion vehicles. The collected data is transferred wirelessly to the users Smartphone with a custom app. Once commercialized, the sensors would allow people to be more proactive when it comes to air pollution, and avoid visiting places where the pollution figures are too high.
For testing, 30 people were given the prototype CitiSense sensors for use in four weeks. The team found out that unlike the common conception that particulate matter dilutes as it goes throughout the air stream, air pollution is worse in particular highly-localized areas. The sensors currently cost about $1000 to built, but the research team is confident that large scale production could easily bring down the cost, making it much more affordable for governments to deploy.