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.

Smart Home

With Personal Food Computers, nerd farmers are finding the best way to grow

MIT research scientist Caleb Harper wants to grow basil designed to prevent heart disease. It involves a personal food computer, climate manipulation, and open sourcing food. One day, your doctor could prescribe you a diet of food grown…
Emerging Tech

SpaceX’s Big Falcon Rocket goes bolder, changes its name to Starship

Elon Musk has revealed that he's changing the name of SpaceX's Big Falcon Rocket to the grander Starship. It's getting a redesign and may even be one day used to visit other star systems trillions of miles away.
Deals

This all-in-one shaving system lets you use over 40 blades from different brands

Trazor shaving system gives you the ability to shave using most of your favorite blades from various brands like Gillette and Schick. It even squirts out water, shaving gel, and aftershave making it an ideal solution for traveling.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Internet of cows? Smart ear tag takes cattle tracking into the future

An Australian startup wants to bring cattle farming into the present day with smart ear tags capable of revealing where herds are grazing, and even if animals are sick or about to give birth.
Photography

DJI’s Ronin-S just got more capable with slew of new accessories

Need a longer battery life for the DJI Ronin-S, or perhaps a built-in screen, GPS, or universal mount? DJI has got you covered with a handful of new accessories for the company's one-hand gimbal.
Emerging Tech

Drones can safely fly a human kidney without damaging it, study shows

Drone deliveries are well on their way. Could they also be used for safely delivering transplant organs to hospitals without damage? A recent test flight attempted to find an answer.
Emerging Tech

Novameat’s 3D-printed ‘steak’ looks gross, but could it save the planet?

A Spanish startup called Novameat is developing a 3D-printed beefsteak, made using a paste composed of vegetable-based materials like rice, peas, and seaweed. Get ready for the future of food!
Emerging Tech

14 White elephant gift ideas that are guaranteed to spice up your holiday party

To help you make a splash at your holiday party this year, we've put together a quick list of the best White Elephant gift ideas the world has ever seen. Proceed with caution!
Emerging Tech

Dangle no more: Window-washing drone for towers could replace human cleaners

The maker of a window-washing drone for tall buildings claims it can do the job 20 times faster than humans and is much safer than using workers in cradles that dangle on the side of buildings.
Smart Home

From flashlights to fireballs, 5 dubious but hilarious way to cook a turkey

Cooking the ol' Thanksgiving Day turkey in the oven can take hours. That said, why use a traditional oven when you can just as easily incinerate the bird with a jet engine? Here are the most insane ways to cook a turkey.