Sensors/IoT Wearables

Breathe easy with the TZOA wearable environmental tracker

The more the world undergoes urbanization, the worse air pollution becomes. Unfortunately, the environment around us is largely invisible and therefore most people don’t pay attention to it even if our health is being adversely affected. The people who do pay attention to what’s going on feel generally powerless to do anything about it mainly because they don’t have the tools at their disposal to make their case, having to rely on spotty and infrequent monitoring by governments that don’t prove very much at all.

The team behind the TZOA wearable environmental tracker is looking to put some smarts in the hands of those concerned. The tracker is outfitted with a proprietary optical air quality sensor that’s able to detect particulate matter 2.5, or PM 2.5. These tiny floating particles are found in harmful pollutants, like car exhaust and the smoke that results from wood burning, and cause permanent damage to our lungs.

Keeping the levels of PM 2.5 in the environment manageable is key to fortifying air quality, so TZOA’s companion app alerts you to elevated levels of contaminants and suggests actions to clean up the air around you. The app also collects the data to create an air quality map so that others can easily see current levels, overtime composing an air quality timeline for reference. The TZOA environmental tracker is $150 CAD (~$130 USD), and backers will receive the device in August of 2015 should its campaign reach its $110,000 CAD (~$96,000 USD) goal.

The TZOA team has similar ambitions to those behind the AirBeam in that they aim to create a platform where people can stay informed using crowd-sourced data about pollution. The AirBeam includes a few more sensors at a premium, but it seems like it would be more worth it as people are already using the AirBeam versus the unreleased product in the TZOA. In any case, as much as the problem of air pollution is a problem of information, various disconnected platforms addressing the same issue in the same way will ultimately do no good in the long run.


Connected Objects Health and Wellness Sensors/IoT

uHoo monitors your air, doesn’t taste like chocolatey chemicals

Every single second of our lives, we breathe. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale: it is this unconscious rhythm that keeps us going, but seldom do we stop to think about the quality of the air around us. We can only do so much about the air outside, but there’s no excuse to being ill-informed about the air in our own homes. The company behind the uHoo is looking to make it easy to know what’s lingering in our own bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms so we can take the actions necessary to protect our health.

Bad quality air can be the cause of all kinds of immediate respiratory issues like allergies, and chemicals and other pollutants can affect our health in the long term. That’s why the uHoo has five sensors that measure particulate matter, airborne chemicals, temperature, humidity, and CO2. It communicates this information to you through a companion app compatible with iOS using Wi-Fi, with an Android and Web-based app coming later. The sparse app gives you an overview of your home’s air quality and gives you details about specific sections of your home, sending alerts whenever it senses something out of the ordinary. Stay on top of your air with $129, and expect a uHoo in June of 2015. The campaign is looking for $30,000 to get uHoo out to backers.

uHoo is continuing the trend of arming users with lots and lots of information about the air, like the similar Table Air. But even if the information it provides is valuable, it isn’t doing enough. A device like this should serve not only as a data recorder but intelligently connect to and control other devices in a home to actively provide that cleaner, healthier environment while you go about your business. It was minimally designed to blend in with your home, but maybe it blends in a little too well.