Design a Wearable Air Quality Index Monitor
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You can look up information about local air pollution, such as the Air Quality Index (AQI), online or even get alerts on your phone. But what if you could wear a device that continuously monitors the air quality around you in real time, alerting you to unsafe levels? Such a device could alert a person with asthma when they need to go inside, let you know if smoke from a nearby wildfire is drifting in your direction, or signal when it is time to take a break on a hazy summer day. The Science Buddies Wearable Air Quality Sensor activity shows you how to use a single dust sensor that senses particulate matter. The activity has step-by-step instructions on how to program a small, wearable, Arduino-compatible board to light up different color LEDs based on the particulate levels. However, the Air Quality Index measures other pollutants in addition to particulate matter, including ozone, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide. You will need additional sensors to measure these other pollutants.
Can you build a wearable device that measures all of the pollutants included in the Air Quality Index? Can you calculate the AQI value based on the levels of the various pollutants? To do this, you will need to look up the formula used to calculate AQI developed by the EPA. Then, can you program your device to provide real-time feedback to the user about air quality? This could be in the form of color-coded LEDs, a display that prints out the AQI, or even a warning buzzer.
Finally, you should think about the ergonomics of your wearable device. The Science Buddies activity only shows you how to sew the circuit onto a rectangular piece of fabric (Figure 1). Can you attach your device to a piece of clothing that is comfortable and unobtrusive enough for a person to wear under normal circumstances?
Figure 1. Electronic components sewn to a piece of fabric.
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This project explores topics key to Good Health and Well-Being: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
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