STMicro, Mobile Physics Partner Up to Turn Smartphones Into Always-On Air Quality Monitors

Using the existing STMicro dToF sensor in Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen. 3 smartphones, EnviroMeter can provide always-on AQ monitoring.

STMicroelectronics has announced a partnership with environmental physics software startup Mobile Physics to develop a means for smartphones to perform always-on high-accuracy air quality monitoring — through an app dubbed EnviroMeter and their existing sensors.

"Personal environment monitoring can give everyone greater control over their own health and safety, using their smartphones. The customer will also have the option to opt in to access wider environmental data covering their local area," explains Erez Weinroth, Mobile Physics' chief executive officer, of his company's work with STMicro. “ST's direct ToF [Time of Flight] sensors enabled us to deliver a solution with accuracy close to that of high-end dedicated environment monitors but at lower cost and in a smaller package."

Your next smartphone could become an always-on air quality monitor and smoke alarm, thanks to STMicro and Mobile Physics. (📹: Mobile Physics)

"The team at Mobile Physics has made ingenious use of the data from our dToF [Direct Time of Flight] sensor to produce this groundbreaking yet economical and elegant environment monitor," adds STMicro's Alex Balmefrezol. "We are delighted to enable this new, wellness-enhancing feature that complements the established ToF use cases providing even more value to our customers."

The key to the app's success is its ability to tie into STMicro's existing dToF optical sensors — frequently found in smartphones to drive camera autofocus or presence detection systems. The app is designed, in its present incarnation, for use with the STMicro VL53L8 dToF sensor already found in Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen. 3 smartphone platform, meaning no additional hardware is required to provide always-on air quality monitoring and smoke detection features.

The app has been released as part of Mobile Physics' EnviroMeter Software Development Kit (SDK), which can also be used to read temperatures, wind, precipitation, humidity, light intensity, ultraviolet intensity, and noise level monitoring. STMicro has confirmed it will be showcasing the app in live demos at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2024 later this month, in Booth 7A61.

More information on EnviroMeter is available on the Mobile Physics website.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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