Wearable Device Tracks Air Pollution So You Can Find the Perfect Spot for Breathing

Wearable Device Tracks Air Pollution So You Can Adjust Your Morning Commute and Running Route

This tiny digital device offers a breath of fresh air, literally. Instead of tracking how many steps you took this morning, it tracks air pollution and air quality in your immediate vicinity.

Clip it onto your collar or a pocket on your backpack and it takes into account air pollution caused by smog from cars, buses, and factories. Then the information is crowd sourced and becomes part of an air quality mapped report, according to the International Business Times.

The device, which is called the TZOA (pronounced zoa), contains an advanced enviro-tracker with sensors that measure air pollution, temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, ambient light, and UV sun exposure. It tracks air quality by measuring particulate matter, which represents particles like dust, pollen, asbestos, and mold as well as smaller particles like woodsmoke, vehicle exhaust, and kitchen fumes.

“Even in some of the cleanest cities we have, the air pollution is still high enough that there are substantial health risks,” Anthony Wexler, who directs the Air Quality Research Center at the University of California, Davis said to the International Business Times. “This is difficult to communicate to people. They look outside and say, ‘It looks clean’ — but you can’t see the air pollution that’s killing you or damaging your lungs.”

But not only does it measure these various elements, it allows you to take actionable steps to avoid the pollution. You can chose the walk to work with the freshest air and the same goes for your running route or the best place for a picnic. And since it tracks UV exposure, you can see how much real sun you’ve gotten (either too much in the summer or too little vitamin D in the winter). Even compare neighborhoods in terms of air pollution.

According to TZOA:

There are many applications for your TZOA. As it is a wearable, you can attach it to your clothing, purse, bag or backpack as you move about your day. It will collect data and update your smartphone via Bluetooth regularly. When you are at home, you can leave your TZOA in its charging cradle and have it monitor the air quality in your family’s home. We recommend leaving it either in the kitchen, a living area, or a bedroom.

It gives a much more specific idea into what air pollution looks like on the ground in your city so you can do something about it for your health, like buying an air purifier, changing your commute, changing the filters on your HVAC system, turning on the hood fan while you cook, and even choosing the least polluted times to exercise outdoors.

“Poor monitoring is the dirty little secret of clean air programs,” John Walke, the clean air director for the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, D.C., said to the International Business Times. “Air pollution in our surroundings is so geographically dispersed that [standard monitors] provide a very poor picture for the public of local air quality.”

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Image of woman biking to work from Shuttershock