My grandparents often brag about clean air and quality food of their times. Now and then, they keep on telling me that how the food does not taste as good as it was used to be or how the air has become polluted. As I am growing up, even I have noticed that how the quality of air has deteriorated over the years. The jungles of concrete and mushrooming web of vehicles have suffocated our generation to this extent that I am unable to understand that how our future generation will survive in this poisonous air?
Apparently, the same question was troubling David Lu who teamed up with seven other students at University of California and decided to do something about it. The team came up with the ‘Clarity’, the world’s first ever air monitor. Clarity is a keychain-size gadget that will let you track air exposure. It can connect via a smartphone app and gives you real-time alert of air pollution as well as indicates the availability of clean air. There is much more to this small yet significant device that aims to crowd source its way through to design air quality map across the world for better present and future.
It is to be noted that the inventor, David Lu hails from China. A country that is notorious for its air pollution that is as bad as the condition similar to a nuclear winter. The extent of air pollution is so worse that it has slowed down the food making process in the plants scientifically known as photosynthesis and thus, has affected the entire food supply chain. In its 2013 health report, World Health Organization has linked about 40% of pollution related death that is approximate 1.2 million, to China. It has been estimated that China’s capital, Beijing has the concentration level of more than PM 2.5 particles, a level that can enter into the bloodstream and penetrate the lungs by simply inhaling in the air.
As we all know that like the quality of air, the reliability of accurate data is also questionable in China. Last week when heads of several states had an important meeting in Beijing, the data pertaining to air quality was deliberately blocked by the government from being showcased via smartphones app or on websites.
But limiting the problem to China alone would be an understatement. In the U.S., Europe, Mexico and India, there are several areas that are at dangerous level of air pollution. We have millions of patients with respiratory problems whose ailments become even worse with pollutants. Closing the windows and using the air conditioners for 24/7 is not a solution because this increases the number of VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds in the air, another harmful factor that contributes to air pollution.
How Clarity Works:
Clarity utilizes sensors as pollution detectors. The sensor works as a ball that reflects the light and the reflection of the light particles are then used to measure the air particles as well as decide the air particulate. It measures VOCs, particulate matter 2.5, Nitrogen Dioxide and Ammonia in the air.
Clarity is key-chain size gadget and very lightweight. You can use it to on your backpack and belt loops. Use a carabineer clip and you can attach it to your handbag or on bicycle to measure the air quality on-the- go. Download the connected app and you can get real-time alert on your smartphone related to the air quality. This is very important as you can always navigate through your choices. You can change your route to your home, or can ask your kids to play in some other park where pollution level is on a lower side. If your work allows, you can also choose the time when the air pollution is not much and makes for a better ambience to jog.
Along with the air pollution, the device also doubles up as a humidity and temperature meter. As of now, the team of Clarity is hoping for a loyal and positive approach towards the device because as many people would embrace Clarity, it will help its team members to gather in new thoughts and insights to give posterity a fresher world. This data can also be used as a foundation by government authorities to implement corrective measures. Moreover, the day-to-day city life can also be managed by identifying pollution spots and marking the time when the air pollution level is at its peak. At such times, the traffic routed can be diverted or such areas can be blocked for patients and kids to avoid pollution peak as well as casualties.
Availability and Price:
The device is available for pre-order and you need to answer a few questions in order to join the waitlist. There has been no word on the pricing yet.
I understand that planning your day around city’s air pollution level can be a bit of OCD but then I do not mind changing my route for a breath of fresh air! And if this wearable is our chance to “clear the air” for our future generations, I say, why not!