We spend more than 70% of our time indoors – our homes, workplaces, stores – and yet many of us remain blissfully unaware that the air inside can often be more polluted than our outside environments.
I was just as struck by this as perhaps you might be reading this – one would easily be forgiven for perceiving outdoor areas to be chock full of toxic pollutants compared to indoor areas.
For the Telefonica-powered original web video series The Trailblazers (where we discover those millennial founders whose inventions use tech for good), we found a startup tackling the aforementioned issue. We honed in on Bristol startup Altitude Tech’s co-founder Sam Nwankwo. His team have whipped up a rather nifty device that could have substantial impact on our wellbeing – Sensly.
This portable, smart air-quality sensor will track air pollutants in our indoor environment, using industrial-quality electro-chemical sensors to ensure an accurate reading of toxic gases. It then pushes the information directly to your smartphone with real-time updates. Once the app alerts you of worrying levels of say carbon monoxide or nitrogen oxide for instance, it will suggest immediate, proactive measures you could take to tackle the issue. It will also track the humidity of your environment – as it turns out, extreme low or high levels of this can seriously damage your lungs.
At a time when it feels like there’s a slew of ‘smart’ devices for the home being rolled out each week, it’s critical to sift through the lot and weed out the gimmicky gadgets. Sensly however, is one of the credible inventions. What’s particularly impressive here is that Nwankwo has taken sensors that are traditionally quite challenging to calibrate and essentially made it plug-and-play. This is a stellar example of using a technology previously relegated to the technical community and making it accessible to the wider population!
“I want Sensly to have communal value, by allowing you to share the information its collected with your local network of people”, shares Nwankwo. What spurred Sam on to create this? He continues: “Simple – We wanted to create a smart device that would actually help you keep your home safe from domestic accidents and hence benefit wider society.”