WEPO CO₂ wearable watches the air so you don’t have to

The air quality in cities around the world is degrading. With the majority of the world’s population concentrated in ever-sprawling cities, this is only becoming a more severe problem as time goes on, only compounded by the lack of information about just how bad it is and will be.

Air monitoring systems in the world are too spread out and outdated to provide meaningful statistics, which is why wearable systems like WEPO are so valuable. Its CO₂ detector allows anyone to set their own level of desirable exposure and use it for up to 20 hours on a single charge to keep themselves informed of harmful levels. A Bluetooth LE connection connects with Android Wear devices along with the Apple Watch in the future.

Unfortunately though, the device only contains that detector alone, leaving out all other particulate matter, or PM2.5. The device is a bit clunky compared to other sleeker, more reasonably priced alternatives like the TZOA and AirBeam that actually take the data and put it to use in creating crowdsource, air quality maps. The $399 price tag for WEPO is tough to swallow even if it offers wearable compatibility. The $10,000 campaign is looking to ship the product in July 2015.

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.

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.

Connected Objects Health and Wellness

Table Air clears the air, tells its tale to your smartphone

Table AirThe air we breathe isn’t always super clean. It’s hard to know what’s in the air and how harmful it is to our health. Table Air is a portable air purifier that provides information about the contaminants we’re breathing. It hooks up via Wi-Fi to an app that produces data about pollutants. Table Air can be switched on or off to purify the air and the user can even adjust the air flow. One of these smart air purifiers will cost backers $95 with estimated delivery in November 2014. The Chinese Table Air hopes to raise $5,000 on Indiegogo.