Air Quality Egg
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The Air Quality Egg (AQE) is an open source hardware Internet of Things platform and hobbyist device for crowdsourced citizen monitoring of airborne pollutants. The device won widespread recognition when it was named a Best of Kickstarter 2012 project, and has been featured in newspaper, magazine, peer-reviewed scientific journal and prominent blog articles. Crowdsourced data from citizen owners of the devices is uploaded to Xively where it becomes publicly accessibly on the Air Quality Egg website. The device is supported by 3rd party mobile apps such as Acculation's AQCalc.
The Air Quality Egg version 2 comes in different versions; depending on what customers choose, the egg can measure Particulates (PM10, PM2.5 and PM1.0), CO2, NO2, SO2, ozone, carbon monoxide and/or Volatile Organic Compounds. The Particulate version detects particles as small as 0.3µm (microns), using two Plantower PMS5003 sensors. The PM2.5 measurements of the Air Quality Egg version 2 had an R² correlation factor of 0.79 to 0.85 with a professional reference sensor, in a field test run by the Sout Coast Air Quality Management District (an R² approaching the value of 1 reflects a near perfect correlation, whereas a value of 0 indicates a complete lack of correlation.).
The AQE grew out of Internet of Things meetup groups in New York City and Amsterdam, led by Pachube evangelist Ed Borden, and the name "Air Quality Egg" was created by Wicked Device co-founder Dirk Swart. WickedDevice LLC, the company that manufacturers and sells the AQE off its website, is a tech start-up headquartered in Ithaca, NY. Originally there were two versions of the device: an Arduino shield for use by hobbyists, and a more consumer-ready "hobbyist kit" device. The latter consists of two identical-looking plastic enclosures resembling white eggs. One unit, the base unit, is connected to the user's ethernet LAN connection. The second unit monitors NO2 and CO levels and reports these readings every few minutes back to the base unit via a custom wireless protocol. The base unit, in term, reports these readings to Xively and the AQE website. Add-ons are available for purchase off the website that add PM2.5 dust, Ozone, and VOC sensors.The second version of the AQE is a single unit, Wi-Fi connected device which can be configured using a cell phone.
Despite being labelled a not-consumer-ready "hobbyist" device by the manufacturer, the AQE is one of the few de facto commercially available, comprehensive Internet of Things pollution monitors on the US market. A number of competing devices have been announced, such as the Chemisense Wearable in the US or the Foobot (formerly Alima). CitizenSensor is another US crowdsourced air quality monitoring device, but it is listed an "outgoing project", "DIY", and apparently not available for purchase. In terms of a comprehensive Internet of Things air pollution monitoring solution, the most direct competitor may be China's iKair (pronounced "I Care"), although this uses a closed, proprietary platform rather than the AQE's open source hardware and open data design. IBM recently announced a partnership with the government of China for analytics software to process data from pollution sensors, so both the software and hardware aspects of this market may be heating up. A major potential criticism of the AQE is that it is still a hobbyist device despite the appearance of consumer-ready packaging. In an effort to get these devices to end-users more quickly, the original version one sensors were not fully calibrated by the manufacturer.
In 2017 The Air Quality Egg version 2 was included in the permanent collection of MAK, the Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst / Gegenwartskunst in Vienna.
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