Air pollution is a daily problem in every major city around the world. According to a study by the Max-Planck Institut, approximately 3.3 million of people die every year from the effects of air pollution. The PocketLab Air - a handheld gadget funded by a Crowdfunding campaign - is now making it possible for anyone to measure the state of the air around them.
The small green device works like a miniature laboratory, allowing you to measure, among other things carbon dioxide, ozone, particulate matter pollution, temperature and humidity. This data can then be transferred from the PocketLab Air to a smartphone via Bluetooth or using a cable. The location where the measurement was taken is also recorded, along with a geotag, helping to generate maps. This makes possible to visualize the data so that you can see when the particulate was at its highest at a particular location or how different the air quality is in different places around the city.
The PocketLab Air is produced by the company Myriad Sensors and the main purpose of it is educational: giving students a taste of what a scientific research is like but with simplified equipment. And the device enables people to gather data autonomously and independently too - what means that they don't have to rely on information from public sources - and it can even help to create a database in areas where there was previously a lack of one.
With its app, Myriad Sensors also aims to stimulate an exchange between students, scientists and hobby researchers and to develop a global map of air pollution, measured and stored by a network of local miniature sensors.
However, scientific curiosity has a price here, and a big one, although considering the device's range of different uses, it might seem justified. The current price is just under 300 USD.
This is a translation by Ana Galan of the original article which first appeared on RESET's German-language site.