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.