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Faculty and Students Develop Portable, Affordable Air Quality Testing Device

October 20, 2016

The NRG lab has worked on the AeroSpec since 2014.

The NRG lab has worked on the AeroSpec since 2014.

Electrical Engineering Professor Alex Mamishev, doctoral student Sep Makhsous and the Mechanical Engineering Novosselov Research Group (NRG) have launched an Indiegogo campaign for their new product – the AeroSpec.

The affordable device is a portable air quality tester. The first of its kind, AeroSpec helps to identify molds and other problem particles within a particular testing area. Air pollutants and allergens can be incredibly harmful to an affected individual. Having an object that can pre-diagnose environmental conditions and target possible allergens allows for increased empowerment in making environmental-based decisions, such as buying a new home.

“Imagine you start sneezing as soon you enter your friends new apartment, and it has been getting worse despite all the steps you have taken to eliminate possible allergens,” Makhsous said. “AeroSpec can identify what you are allergic to and even more. You can understand if the air around your neighborhood is safe, or if the new kindergarten you signed your child in is actually safe and is not filled with harmful pollutants or allergens.”

poster

The AeroSpec device

AeroSpec uses a patent-pending micro well to capture particles in the air. After the user collects the information, the device is then shipped back to a lab for further testing. The analysis will then be sent to the user via an AeroSpec app.

“Perhaps, the coolest feature of AeroSpec is portability and connectivity,” Makhsous said. “AeroSpec works with your smartphone to get the most knowledge out the surrounding air.”

Although other tests exist to evaluate air pollutants, they are costly and not portable. Current air analysis kits have high-energy constraints, making the kits more cumbersome and expensive than is necessary. For the average American, this type of analysis is not affordable.

By giving communities access to this information, communities will become more aware of pollutant risks and have the opportunity to take concerted action. For so many in the world, air pollution is a serious health risk. Makhsous and his team are working to develop the future technology to make these devices even more accessible to those throughout the world.

Eventually, the research team would like to develop a smartphone device that will automatically analyze air pollutants.

Eventually, the research team would like to develop a smartphone device that will automatically analyze air pollutants (as shown in the picture).

“Our goal is to have a self analyzer for this device,” Makhsous said. “Right now, the filter in the device needs to be shipped to the lab to get analyzed. However, with a portable analyzer, the user can get the results in less than hour.”