Air Quality Sensor: Project Virida
What if we told you that you could measure air quality in the palm of your hands and see how it's impacting your health?
7 million people die prematurely due to air pollution, annually.
Every year, millions of people die prematurely from air pollution related deaths, including 1.7 million children. Exposure to poor air quality has been linked to asthma & cardiovascular diseases such as strokes, heart disease, and even cancer. Air pollution is the world's largest single environmental health risk. If reducing air pollution could save our children & millions of lives, why don't we care more?
What is particulate matter?
Particulate matter (PM) are particles in the air that can enter your body when breathing. PM can vary in size, but are measured in micrometers (a millionth of a meter). For example, PM 10 are particles that are 10 micrometers in diameter or less. PM 2.5 are particles that are 2.5 micrometers in diameter or less. To provide a better understanding of the size of PM 2.5 or PM 10, you can review the diagram below comparing to human hair.
Why should you care about PM?
Particulate matter, when it get's small enough, can cause serious long term health issues to the human body. Particles that are 2.5 micrometers in diameter or smaller (PM 2.5) can enter into the deep cavities of our lungs and increase the chances of various diseases. They can also enter our blood stream and cross through our cell membranes at that size. Below, you can see the Air Quality Index chart as provided by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). AQI is a numerical value that can help determine how dangerous the air is to human health. AQI is determined by measuring how many micrograms of PM 2.5 are in a cubic meter of air around you.
Air Quality Index (AQI)
Our Solution: Project Virida
We want to provide a solution to the world where every person can find out what their surrounding air quality is like and how it impacts them. We need this solution to be affordable, portable, accurate, and integrated with a smart device. There is no such device in the market that successfully adopts all 4 of these principles in order to ensure global widespread adoption. Project Virida aims to drive maximum air quality awareness & the importance of green energy as it applies to our health.
Wide spread awareness is of no use if people cannot afford our product. Our aim is to get as many of these devices into the hands of many individuals as possible, in all parts of the world. Our product will be more affordable than any air quality product out in the market.
While maintaining both affordability & portability, our device must be able to measure particulate matter and other gasses accurately. Our device will be just as affordable, just as small, and measure just as accurately as all of our competitors.
In order to get accurate air quality readings both indoor, outdoor, and across the globe, these devices must be portable. Consumers have to be able to carry it with them in their pockets just like a cell phone. This device must also be durable if it will be on the go.
App integration across all smart devices & platforms is essential to getting wide spread adoption. It must be simple, and easy with data interpreted in ways that everyone can understand is. It is also not essential that the device requires an app, we've designed an LED ring to indicate air quality even without a smart device!
Where are we currently at?
Our teams are still in the prototyping phase as we develop a solution that hits all 4 of these core objectives above. We foresee in the coming months a near production ready product for public release. (Screen shots of app soon to follow).
Right now, our product is capable of sensing:
PM 2.5 | VOC Gases | Humidity | Temperature
Other harmful gasses & health impacts:
Not only can our product detect small particulate matter, but it can also sense other forms of gasses. Extensive studies have shown that common gasses around us can have negative impacts to our personal health.
Exposure over long periods of time to carbon monoxide have been linked to increased risk of heart disease. It can also kill you in high doses.
Carbon dioxide has shown to increase depression in individuals as well as fatigue and elevated blood pressure.
Volatile Organic Compounds
VOCs can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation. It can also damage the liver, kidney, and central nervous systems. Some organic compounds are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.
Microsoft Hack for Good
We've also recently participated in Microsoft's hackathon where they helped us on various aspects of our project. Check out our pitch video here. Our teams cannot stress enough how fun and engaging Microsoft was in furthering our cause.
Why do all of this?
To connect people & show them directly with tangible evidence why green energy matters on an extremely personal level. Green energy is more than just about reducing climate change or improving economic sustainability. It's about maintaining the health of our communities and the health of our children. If we can successfully bridge this gap, then we all collectively win.
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