Air quality sensor for wearables

Air quality sensor for wearables

Carbon dioxide isn’t just a threat to the planet, it can also reduce your mental capacity. So researchers have taken a first step toward creating inexpensive wearable sensors that will help people avoid places with bad air.

Researchers from KTH Royal Institute of Technology reported the successful testing of an optical gas sensor in which a key component, the cavity, has been shrunk down to unprecedented scale. Their work was published in the journal Optics Letters.

When CO2 levels become too high in the air we breathe, it decreases the ability of the lungs to provide oxygen to the brain. Furthermore, an elevated CO2 level outdoors is a clear signal of local air pollution from burning of fossil fuels.

People could avoid high concentrations of CO2 with real-time air quality measurements. That would be possible with optical cavity-based gas technology if it were scaled down in bulk – and cost – for practical everyday use, says the study’s co-author, Floria Ottonello-Briano. These kinds of sensors use light to measure the concentration of the different molecules in gases, traditionally relying on two reflective surfaces separated by a gap – the cavity – in which light beams must pass in order to be captured.

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Source: “Air quality sensor for wearables is successfully tested”, David Callahan, KTH Royal Institute of Technology