Air Apparent is a “citizen sensing” project for people with an interest in the quality of the air around them. It helps people to be better informed and to make choices which are better for their health and the health of those around them. The “sensing” part is done with a kit you will build for yourself in a matter of minutes. Air Apparent is based in Bristol, UK, and is an extension of a project started in Stuttgart, Germany originally known as luftdaten.info and now known as airrohr (air pipe).
We deliver workshops to provide information about different types of air pollution, their effects and how that relates to the environment in the UK. During the workshops all attendees can assemble a simple air quality sensor which detects the level of particulate matter in the air. It is also a good chance to ask questions about air quality and get tips on where to get more information and how to take action in your local area.
A typical workshop might last an hour. The cost is per person and covers the venue plus the sensor components which are currently around £25-£30 per kit.
The sensors are inexpensive, quick to build and are powered by any USB mobile phone charger. They measure the amount of particulate matter in the air below 10 microns in diameter (10 microns is roughly 1/7 thickness of a human hair) and also the amount below 2.5 microns. In addition they constantly measure temperature and relative humidity. All the data is sent over your WiFi connection to be displayed on a worldwide air quality map.
The sensors use very little power, around £0.10 of electricity per month, so can be left running continuously.
Data and privacy
The sensor data is made publicly available to allow people to come up with interesting ways of reusing it. With the right technical skills you might for example use it to automate ventilation in your home, create an alert for a neighbourhood group or track trends over time. The software used to control the sensors is also publicly available (open source) if you want to suggest improvements.
Your precise location is never shared publicly, instead your approximate location is used to assign you to a tile on the map which covers several postcodes in urban areas. Your WiFi password is not known by anyone but you and can be set using your smartphone when you take the sensor home.
The volume of data sent over your WiFi network is tiny so won’t impact on the responsiveness of your internet connection.
Want to know more? Contact us