School Children Help Test Wearable Air Quality Sensors

By on May 23, 2016

Rivendell School students wearing air quality sensors. (Credit: Colorado State University)

A few elementary school kids near Fort Collins, Colorado are helping scientists at Colorado State University test out new air quality sensors, according to a release from the university. The sensors, mounted to the youngsters’ backpacks, may help researchers pinpoint the types of pollutants people encounter every day in their surroundings.

These small areas around people are also called “microenvironments,” and nailing down how people behave with the small pollution sensors could help future efforts to alleviate concerns of asthma sufferers. Plans are for the school kids to wear the devices for a week, and then share the data and some of their thoughts with the researchers.

Following the Fort Collins pilot, scientists will launch a second pilot in Fresno, California – one of the country’s most polluted cities. After that, if the technology works, they plan to deploy the sensors on hundreds of children with asthma to help understand how their surrounding environments play a role in their health.

The devices use micropumps that collect air samples over the course of a day to estimate exposure to harmful forms of particulate matter like smoke and dust. Data is stored via flash memory and Bluetooth receivers can send data remotely to a mobile phone app.

Top image: Rivendell School students wearing air quality sensors. (Credit: Colorado State University)

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