17. March 2016

Energy from Thin Air: Measuring Air Pollution with CleanSpace

Let’s face it. Air quality in London is quite poor. You don’t need technology to notice. As soon as you reach the country side, the difference is usually very apparent. I will soon get hold of an active sensor that transfers carbon monoxide readings to my phone in real-time. Interesting: the sensor is powered only from energy harvested from wireless and broadcast networks. Energy from thin air!

Health is one of the things I care quite a lot about. After all, it’s really uncomfortable when your body is letting you down. As such, from a variety of ways to pollute our environment, air pollution is not only unhealthy, but also affecting life quality negatively.

I recently attended a talk by Lord Drayson, who presented CleanSpace, a project based around a portable air pollution sensor. Unsurprisingly, I was captivated by the fact that this sensor charges itself with energy collected by a built-in rectifying antenna. Energy harvested from radio frequency bands. See also this article in The Guardian. Isn’t that cool? Can’t wait to give it a try after winning one of the sensors in a lottery draw.

The sensor collects carbon monoxide readings and sends them to my phone, giving me a chance to gain insight into pollution around me, and able to share these insights and data with others. While London has pretty good public transport that brings you anywhere, there are still too many cars around on the road. Time to change. CleanSpace promises to do its share by providing rewards and discounts by partners once you collect air pollution data and so-called CleanMiles when commuting or travelling by walking, running, or cycling.

So long, I will keep you posted.