Air Mentor shows the lighted sides of contaminated environs

The carbon monoxide detector is a must-have device. But there are many potential toxins in the air other than carbon monoxide that can be dangerous to people also — especially the very young and elderly and those with compromised immune systems and respiratory ailments.

Air Mentor is a Bluetooth Smart device with built-in industrial grade sensors that measure home air quality and can detect pollutants including carbon dioxide, particulate matters and volatile organic compounds such as carbon monoxide, aromatic hydrocarbons and organic acids. The triangular device can be placed on any flat surface in the home or office, and is used in conjunction with an Android or iOS app. Cloud computing software automatically analyzes indoor air patterns.

One of five colors lights up on the device to signal the air’s quality: green for good air quality, yellow for moderate, orange meaning the air is unhealthy for sensitive people such as those with asthma, red meaning the air is unhealthy for everybody, and purple signaling very unhealthy air. The device costs $249 and ships in May. Its maker is hoping to raise $15,500 by May 8.

Air Mentor holds promise, especially for consumers with compromised immune systems and those with chronic respiratory conditions including asthma. But consumers looking for a more portable device that performs some of the same functions might opt for something like the Scarab wearable air pollutant detector.


Health and Wellness

GiftAir portable air purifier cleans air around you

The air we breathe isn’t always clean. There’s lots floating around in our homes and outside, especially for those who live in cities. Air pollutants can cause serious health complications and send us into illness.

GiftAir is a portable air purifying device. It’s not just for the home, but can be carried around. Its campaign boasts that the product cleans the air within a 22 inch radius, blocking harmful toxins using air-ion technology. Running on battery, the device uses solar panels to charge up quickly and efficiently. It is white and made of bio-plastic manufactured from plants. Best of all, GiftAir features a strong clip so that it can be attached to strollers to protect young ones from the air. With no filter, it’s easier to clean and blocks out more gunk from the air, including pollen for those allergic to just about everything when the season hits.

It’s always a bit suspicious when a product claims to do something that pretty much can’t be measured. And the human race has gotten this far breathing in this horrible air. Still, data shows that the air is becoming more dirty and it’s especially important to make sure children stay healthy. This would be a great gift for those traveling to new places where the air quality is so bad it can cause illness to those not used to it, like Hong Kong. GiftAir’s portability is what really sets it apart from similar products. However, it doesn’t provide smartphone feedback like the Table Air, something GiftAir should consider adding in the future. Backers can have their very own by March 2015 for a $129 donation, provided GiftAir can reach its $30,000 campaign goal on Indiegogo.

Health and Wellness Home

Squair ditches filters for cold plasma to help you breathe easier

Polluted air affects everyone in many different harmful ways. From asthma to allergies, everyone feels the detrimental results of dirty air, but no one quite knows how to address it.

SQUAIR takes the mind off of bad breathing as an air filtration system. Using cold plasma, this devices catches harmful pollutants in the air and kills bacteria. This product is also discreet, resembling a hard drive. It gives users relief for up to 30sqm around them and can be used anywhere from the office, home or even hotel rooms when traveling.

SQUAIR joins scores of other air purifiers, but misses the mark on a couple of key conveniences. Products like the Table Air not only filter toxins, mold and dust, but also communicate with smartphones to deliver data about what’s in the air. Other air purifiers run on battery, making them portable to use during walks to protect oneself in bad areas, such as a city. While SQUAIR’s methods to clean pollutants may be cutting edge, the product itself could use some updating to make it more user-friendly. For their very own, backers must donate €165 (~$203) for delivery in April 2015, if SQUAIR is able to reach its €79,000 (~$97,000) goal on Kickstarter.

Sensors/IoT Smart Home

Aria detects radon and IAQ, reports it to your smartphone

Pollution is a big problem, but it’s not one that’s limited only to big cities or industrialized areas. The truth is that indoor air quality, or lack thereof, is the cause of thousands of deaths each year, whether it’s carbon monoxide or the harder to detect and deadlier radon.

Aria is a home air quality monitor that can detect radon and other pollutants and report on air quality in real time, giving homeowners plenty of time to react and protect themselves from harmful gases. Aside from the colorful light indicating air quality on the device’s exterior, Aria can also push notifications using a Wi-Fi network to owners’ phones, alerting them of an issue with the air at home even from a distance.

While Aria’s light functions with some basic indicators (green means good, red means bad), more detailed information is uploaded at all times to the app, letting users know when to ventilate or call for outside help if necessary. Aria breaks this information down hour by hour, giving a detailed report of when pollutants are entering the home. Aria developer RSens is asking for $95,000 to offset manufacturing costs. The device itself costs $99 for early supporters and is expected to launch September 2015.

It’s hard to be overly cautious when dealing with something that could be potentially life-threatening and hazardous to an entire family. That being said, asking a device to provide hourly breakdowns of air quality on demand seems a little hypochondriac. It’s nice that the device offers this level of performance, but many users might not need to be so plugged in to what the air is like at home at all times. Either way, there’s some peace of mind to be gained in knowing Aria is looking out.


Stingray seeks to eradicate those little trees hanging off your rearview mirror

Many people enjoy using various aromas in their vehicle to keep the air fresh. But what if there were an air freshener device that would allow for variety at the press of a button and also helped people to stay healthier during cold and flu season?

Stingray is an air freshening device that uses various natural aromatizes to enhance respiratory health. It doesn’t require any special tools or skills to install, and is touted as having reliable fastening in any situation, even if one is into doing 4×4 truck shows in which one hits the ramps, goes airborne, and lands with a crowd pleasing, high wheeling thud (see video).  As for normal drivers, they may be more interested to know about having the option of four scents, which can be changed at any time of their choosing at the press of a button. The fragrances release every 5, 10, 15 or 30 minutes, with an “extra” button that can be used at any time.  Stingray automatically shuts off when the car is turned off, and is hardy enough to withstand extremely cold temperatures. It also has two USB charging ports.

Stingray could be enjoyed by pretty much anyone who drives a vehicle. It would be nice to know what scents will be offered with the product, if they ever need to be replaced and where or how one would get the refills, but this is not clearly indicated. This campaign is seeking to raise $200,000 by November 14, 2014. For $69, early bird backers get one product.


Wingboard lets you capture air in a wild new way

Thrill seekers can’t get enough of skydiving, bungee jumping and wingsuit flying. Now, they can up the ante with the WingBoard. This product combines wake boarding with sky diving. The user stands atop the WingBoard which is attached to a plane. YES, a plane. Okay, one of those little planes, but still. It has wheels on the bottom for take off and, in the sky, the rider holds onto a rope much like when water skiing. One will cost extreme backers basically $600 for only the kit and manual to create a 1/16 scale version of the product. WingBoard hopes to raise $32,000 on Kickstarter to continue developing their product.

Thus far, the creators of WingBoard are still in the very early stages of development. They’re slowly scaling their product up to ensure safety. Speaking of which, it’s unclear what happens to the rider if they let go of the rope or lose their balance. Those water skiing can just float around in the water, but do WingBoarders just fall to the ground? Or do they perhaps wear a parachute? Either way this sport seems like it could require exceptional safety controls with wind and cold altitudes making it downright unpleasant. It will be interesting to see if this product ever fully develops with the approval of all the necessary acronymed organizations.


Evrst and Aspyn clear the air of bad stuff to breathe

Scrubbing, mopping and dusting your house can only do so much. There’s lots of bacteria that live in the air that are nearly impossible to eradicate. In addition, tons of gunk can build up in your HVAC systems which then turns them into spreaders of ickiness instead convenient home fixtures.

Introducing two products that work for you to clean your house: Evrst and Aspyn. Evrst is a standalone product that sits visibly in your house to kill germs. It plugs in and cleans up to 1,500 sq ft of space. Evrst uses a two-stage filtration system: the first to squash odors and the second to catch teeny tiny particles. To operate, use the touchscreen where you can power it on or off, change the fan speed, set a timer or choose auto mode. The filters are good for three to six years. Aspyn is the same type of product, but gets placed directly in your HVAC system, cleaning your house from the inside out. One Evrst will cost backers $449 while the Aspyn goes for $650. These products have a huge, ridiculous campaign goal of $370,000 on Kickstarter.

Despite these products’ distaste for traditional vowels, they do like a clean house, which is important. While the campaign explains how they work, it’s difficult to prove that they actually do work without some proof. These aren’t the only air purifiers of their kind. Others target more specific irritants like allergens, smoke and mold. However, most of these are quite expensive, reaching into thousands of dollars like the Amaircare Whole House Air Purifier. For what they claim to do, Aspyn and Evrst are a good price, but their huge campaign goal may hold them back.


Tibio lamp answers hot air’s call to “blow me down”

TibioEveryone knows that heat rises, which can be annoying to deal with in the winter. The top of your living room is nice and toasty while the bottom where everyone sits is frigid. Tibio is a small product about the size of a roll of paper towels that hangs on your wall above the heater. A built-in fan helps to circulate warm air down to where the people hang out. Tibio is decorative with several options for its design and blends right into your home. It seems like a simple, but effective way to save money on one’s heating bill and much less bulky than the Hot Tube. One costs backers £55 with a campaign goal of £48,000 on Kickstarter.


Battery-powered EB XL bike pump provides air to spare anywhere

EB XLPumping up tires can be exhausting and time-consuming. The EB XL is a battery powered tire pump that does all the work for you. The campaign video shows this somewhat loud and bulky product at work. The one downside of this product is that there doesn’t appear to be any kind of psi gauge to tell you when the tire is full. In the video, the user just pushes down on the tire judging the pressure that way. It would be a practical addition to include a gauge so that the pump automatically stops when the tire is full. One EB XL will cost backers $60. This battery-powered pump hopes to raise $5,000 on Kickstarter.


Hot-Tubes help reduce heating costs by recirculating the heat

Hot TubesJust in time for the cold winter months comes an idea for intercepting the tracks of the iceman who cometh to steal the warmth out of humble homes. Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic. However, Hot Tubes seems to have a seriously good idea for helping people save on heating costs. The tubular fan system works to bring heat that collects near the ceiling down to living space level so that, take note gentlemen, there can finally be a little peace in connection to the battle of the thermostat. And much to most ladies’ delight, no tools are required for instillation. Backers get one 11” tube for $35, with an expected delivery of December 2014.