Don’t hold your breath: Tiny PocketLab sensor tells you when air quality is poor

Whether it’s citizen journalists using tools like Twitter or large-scale medical studies courtesy of Apple’s ResearchKit technology, we live in an age where it’s possible to gather useful information from massive populations of people at once. That’s something that science-oriented wireless sensor company PocketLab is tapping into with its latest project. The goal? To give everyone the tools necessary to accumulate ultra-localized information about the effects of climate change and pollution.

With that not-exactly-modest ambition in mind, it has launched a new device called the PocketLab Air on Kickstarter. PocketLab Air is a state-of-the-art multi-sensor that connects to your mobile device or computer to give you an accurate reading on a whole range of metrics for whichever area you’re in. These include carbon dioxide and ozone levels, particulate matter, temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, altitude, dew point, heat index, and light intensity — all of which you can measure with your personal pocket-sized device, and then (if you wish) share to create a crowdsourced information map.

“The exciting thing about PocketLab Air is not just the sensor itself, but the ability to collaborate on global climate and air quality experiments,” Robert Douthitt, PocketLab’s director of education research and community engagement, told Digital Trends. “We are calling these PocketLab Missions. Users can activate PocketLab Mission Mode from the PocketLab app, and either accept Mission Objectives from other PocketLab Air users or create their own Mission Objectives to request data from others. Users can then upload their collected data, tagged with their geo-location, to participate in the PocketLab Mission and collaborate with others on climate and air quality experiments.”

pocketlab air pollution tracking prototypes 2

Douthitt imagines scenarios such as high school environmental science classes using the sensors to carry out collaborative research on the air quality during pickup and drop-off times — perhaps opening up questions about whether schools should consider creating a “no-idling zone” to protect the health of their students.

Previous PocketLab sensors are used by teachers and students in thousands of classrooms all across the world,” said Douthitt. “But they are also used by professional engineers, citizen scientists, geeky parents who want to inspire their kids, and anyone with a curious mind.”

If you consider yourself among the curious, you can currently pre-order a PocketLab Air kit on Kickstarter, where prices start at $198. Shipping is set to take place in October 2018.

Emerging Tech

MIT whiz kids got a robot to take on the viral #BottleCapChallenge

It turns out the ultra-smart folks at MIT think about the same silly viral meme challenges as the rest of us. Check out their attempt to get a robot to take on the #BottleCapChallenge.
Mobile

Master your LG G8 ThinQ with these handy tips and tricks

The LG G8 ThinQ launched with more than a few cutting-edge features. It has since been discounted, making it a more valuable buy, so we're making sure you get your money's worth with the best LG G8 ThinQ tips and tricks for your new phone.
Cars

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Drone lens, laser synth, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Small Business

The 15 best tech jobs boast top salaries, high satisfaction, lots of openings

June may be ending, but the bonanza of tech jobs just keeps coming. High-paying jobs abound at companies where people love to work. If you’re ready to make a change, this is a great time to look for something more fulfilling.   
Emerging Tech

Professional poker players no match for A.I. in six-player Texas Hold ’em

Poker AI Pluribus destroyed professional players in Texas Hold 'em. The bot won an average of $5 per hand with winnings of $1,000 per hour, with strategies that were very different to how humans played the game.
Emerging Tech

Russia launches X-ray observatory capable of locating thousands of black holes

Russia has finally launched its powerful X-ray observatory, Spektr-RG, after a delay caused by faulty batteries on board the spacecraft. The launch took place at 5:30 a.m. PT on Saturday, July 13, taking off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
Emerging Tech

Stallone in Terminator 2? How one deepfake prankster is changing cinema history

Ever wanted to see The Shining with Jim Carrey instead of Jack Nicholson? How about Stallone in Terminator 2: Judgement Day instead of everyone's favorite governator? Thanks to deepfakes, it's now possible -- just ask YouTuber Ctrl Shift…
Emerging Tech

See a gargantuan dust storm covering the north pole of Mars

A dust storm around Mars' north pole has been imaged by the Mars Express orbiter. Localized dust storms are common on Mars, but occasionally one expands into a planet-wide event like the one which caused the demise of the Opportunity rover.
Emerging Tech

The Very Large Telescope captures the beautiful remnants of a dying star

The VLT has captured a beautiful cosmic object, the planetary nebula named Abell 24. Located in constellation of Canis Minor (The Lesser Dog), it is a swirl of dust and gas which is illuminated by the core of a dead star.
Emerging Tech

Astronomers have spotted a moon forming around a proto-Jupiter

Astronomers have spotted a young planet with a disk of gas and dust around it which is similar to the one from which the moons of Jupiter were born. The planet PDS 70 b is in the process of forming and is located 370 light-years away.
Emerging Tech

NASA thinks 3D-printing spacecraft parts in orbit will help Moon to Mars mission

NASA funded the demonstration by a small spacecraft named Archinaut One to manufacture and assemble parts while in space. NASA believes that the technology will change future space exploration, including its Moon to Mars initiative.
Emerging Tech

Flyboard Air soars over Paris during France’s national day celebrations

Franky Zapata, the inventor of the jet-powered Flyboard Air, showed off his machine during France's Bastille Day celebrations on Sunday. The impressive display was even given a nod of approval by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Deals

Save with Prime Day deals on DNA kits from Ancestry, 23andme, and Living DNA

Prime Day is a great time to order a DNA kit. Over the years, kits from various providers have been deeply discounted -- and this year's no exception. Kits from AncestryDNA, 23andMe, and Living DNA are on sale for as much as half off…
Emerging Tech

Airport hotel builds a full-sized flight simulator into one of its guest rooms

Aviation enthusiasts flying out of Tokyo's Haneda Airport, there's a new hotel room designed just for you. It features a full-sized Boeing 737-800 flight simulator, though you'll have to pay extra to use it.