About 2 billion children live in places where outdoor air pollution exceeds the annual limit set by the World Health Organization and the number of deaths due to poor air quality may double in the next twenty years. Air pollution has also been linked to heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease, the major killers in most countries. A recent study in Toronto has revealed that even Toronto’s modest levels of air pollution contribute to effects on health and increased annual emergency room visits. Young children (0 – 4 years old) are especially vulnerable because their lungs and immune system are still developing. Accessible air pollution monitoring and air purification could empower dramatic social change, but current cost of air purifiers is high and knowledge of the local levels of air pollution is sorely lacking.
I have developed a device that can be added to child cribs and strollers to offer continuous indoor and outdoor air monitoring and purification. The device makes use of Arduino 101 to monitor the environment (air pollution, light, temperature and humidity) and provide on-demand air purification and conditioning). The device also monitors child movement using motion detection to determine whether the child is awake or asleep and uses this information to play music to soothe the child and notify parents.
Air4Kids device applications
My goal is to reduce the health risk factors of air pollution for young children by providing affordable devices for monitoring and purifying the air and by creating an awareness campaign that together will result in reduced disease incidence and improved health. In short term, the social impact of project includes 30% reduction in respiratory illness and 25% reduction in doctors’ visits. In long term, our impact includes increased lifespan (3-5 years), improved quality of life, improved school performance as well as more disposable income for family (money savings on healthcare). In addition to direct impact in child health, the devices offer information on pollution levels and sources, encourage pollution source reduction (citizen-led & city-led) and ultimately improved population health. The pollution sensors built into the devices help reduce medical costs by allowing medical professionals to identify people at risk while helping the public take appropriate precautions.