Product Review: AirBeam, the Handheld, Real-Time Air Quality Monitor

Ever wish that you could instantly measure your exposure to air pollution? Or your kids’ exposure to air pollution? Look no further! Today, we are reviewing AirBeam, a handheld, live-streaming device that transfers live air pollution data to your phone via Bluetooth. You can get some background on it here.

What Is It? 

AirBeam is a personal particle counter for the 21st century. It uses a technique called light scattering, which means that it shoots infrared lasers at particles that pass through its chamber, and then counts the number of particles by detecting the deviations in the light as they hit the particles. It counts particulates between 0.5 and 2.5 micrometers, a key measure of pollution and the main measurement we use at Vivergy. It can give readings on air pollution at your location every second for up to 10 hours on battery life. It then broadcasts this data, under your permission, to their crowdsourced dataset, which forms a map of pollution across the country. At a price of $250, the Airbeam’s accuracy is unprecedented for devices of its size and portability.

What’s new? 

AirBeam’s accuracy, functionality out of the box and live streaming capabilities are unmatched. The non-profit that produces it, HabitatMap, has documented its due diligence on accuracy here. For the first time, you can walk around anywhere and get live air pollution readings to your phone. This enables all sorts of applications, from continuous monitoring at public buildings to more accurate health studies on the relationship between asthma and air pollution.

How can I use this thing?

Great question. Let’s imagine that you want to learn more about air pollution at a school in your area. You could take the AirBeam to the school in the morning, and check out the particulate matter levels during drop-off time. Then, you could walk around and see pollution levels on the sports fields, inside the building, and at the drop-off point after cars leave. Then, you could check out air quality at the bus pickup area at the end of the day. You can learn a ton. How does bus exhaust compare to car exhaust? How long does pollution hang around after the cars or buses leave?

What still needs improvement?

Particle counting in real time is still a challenge. Air can be hugely variable in its particle contamination, and a second by second reading does not make it easy to turn this variable data into a consistent trend. AirBeam experiences a bit of sensing latency, in other words, results are delayed by a couple seconds as the sensor averages the new results against past results. Still, it is responsive within 10 seconds to any new pollution source.

Have any questions? We LOVE the AirBeam at Vivergy. If you want to learn more or get this into your community, hit us up at info (at) joinvivergy.com.

–The Vivergy Team

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