Air Quality Beta Kit

Earlier this year we announced that our first real batch of Safecast Air Quality prototypes were being tested out in the field. These were all one of a kind devices with different configurations to help us understand how configuration variables would impact the data collected. We’re excited to now expand that beta testing group with a single device configuration, we hope to deploy 25-50 of these in the coming months.

If you’ve been following closely you know that we have been looking into air quality and how/what to measure since 2012 and taking various readings since that time. With our prototypes we’ve wrestled with static vs mobile sensors, as well as deciding on what we should be measuring. As it turns out all sensors are not created equal and different sensors prefer different environments for ideal data collection, so for this deployment of beta devices we’ve simplified things as much as possible. This first run of devices will measure airborne particulate matter in PM10, PM2.5 and PM1.0 sizes. We’ll also be logging temperature and humidity for calibration purposes, and these will be static devices that should be installed in a single outside location for at least 3 months.

It’s important to note that as this is a beta release, the data collected (which we will publish into the public domain under CC0 just like our radiation data) will be considered beta and not scientific or research grade, and thus will not be included in the official Safecast dataset just yet. This small rollout is crucial in helping us fine tune the design and calibration of the devices so that the official v1.0 release and the data it collects will be up to Safecast standards. Additionally, it may end up being possible to upgrade these beta devices to production versions, but we won’t know that for sure until we get these out in the field and start seeing the data that comes in from them.

To participate in the Safecast air quality project, please join the air quality mailing list. Air Quality Beta Kits are available now from our distributor Kithub.

If you’d like to support our efforts but participating in a beta kit test isn’t for you, donations are always welcome and make this all possible.

About the Author

Sean Bonner

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Sean Bonner is a co-founder and Global Director of Safecast. Based in Los Angeles, he’s an Associate Researcher at the Center For Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab and a Shuttleworth Fellow.