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Air quality is defined as the amount of ambient pollution found in a standard measure of atmospheric gases. Air can contain a surprisingly long list of pollutants, which are suspended within it and can adversely affect humans and animals in contact with them, particularly when they are taken into the lungs. The types and concentrations of pollutants that reduce air quality is determined by the immediate environmental area (or microclimate) and what its functions may be. Therefore, a microclimate can be a residential area, industrial complex or a whole city. Air quality is related to many common diseases, including emphysema, acute bronchitis or asthma. Some air pollutants also pose a more immediate danger to life when present in high concentrations. That’s why devices that monitor and help to manage air quality can be important in certain settings. Accordingly, Bosch, in conjunction with Intel, has introduced a new range of smart air quality meters. These new monitoring devices are also connected, with the ability to transmit the high-end air quality data they can generate over mobile data or Wi-Fi.

Air Pollutants and the Systems that Find Them

Pollutants that affect air quality are often gases or materials light enough to float in space and be inspired, or breathed in, by animals or humans. They include ozone, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, oxides and dioxides of nitrogen, sulphur dioxide and particulate materials. Particulate materials include matter that is often the by-product of manufacturing or fossil-fuel burning, and may even be dangerous metals in some cases. Carbon monoxide and some other gases can initiate lethargy, delirium and asphyxiation in high enough concentrations. Particulate matter, and some gases, can irritate or inflame respiratory tissues, thus instigating or aggravating breathing disorders. These conditions are known to affect life quality for some people living in areas with high levels of air pollution. However, the technology that monitors air quality, and the risks of negative effects associated with its reduction, is historically expensive, complex or both. Their installation can even entail the re-structuring of public services and systems. The Bosch Micro-climate Monitoring and Sensing System (MCMS), on the other hand, is designed to be less costly, more efficient and more amenable to integration into cities, factories or perhaps even homes.

Bosch Air Quality Micro Climate Monitoring System (MCMS): Front face

Bosch Air Quality Micro Climate Monitoring System (MCMS): Front face (Intel)

The MCMS: Advantages and Applications

This system is a single module incorporating the air-quality sensors required and the circuitry needed for its connectivity and calibration. Bosch also claims that the external casing is durable and weather-resistant, which allows for use in varied environments. It can provide real-time data on the air quality for the space it is set up to monitor, and send it over 3G or Wi-Fi. This is powered by Intel’s Quark processor, which enables Internet of Things (IoT) functions, and the Wind River® Helix system. Bosch claims that integrating this technology will enhance the lifespan of the monitoring system and ensure the security of its data. It may also help the system upgrade to faster data-transfer standards, including 5G, in the near future.

The Bosch system is projected to give early-warning signs of reduced air quality in the micro-climate it evaluates. This could, for example, increase worker health and safety in industrial settings. It could also give air-quality trends over time, which may give city planners an idea of how good the air quality may be in the future, if an urban area is extended or developed. For those in real estate, an estimate of air quality can also affect the value of the properties they manage or develop. The new Bosch system could also give residential or urban authorities the option to release timely air quality warnings to citizens.

The IoT nature of the MCMS means that it can also share and swap data between other compatible smart machines in a given system or automated process. This could help issue alerts to use protective clothing or to evacuate an area if necessary. Bosch suggests that users could also interact with the system using a smartphone interface. This interface is interchangeable across all devices, and can work with wired or wireless devices. Bosch also claims that the system gathers highly accurate data, for robust forecasts, readings and analysis. The sensors also gather data on other measures of environmental quality, such as temperature and humidity, which can also affect the impact of air pollution on living beings. In industrial contexts, it can also gather data on other potential occupational hazards, such as noise levels and lighting conditions.

The Bosch Micro-climate Monitoring and Sensing System is a welcome step forward in the assessment of air quality and other environmental stressors. Air pollution is an increasingly pressing public health concern for cities worldwide, and needs closer monitoring even if measures to reduce it are implemented. Bosch also aims to reduce the cost and the energy use associated with air quality monitoring, by making the MCMS much more compact and compliant with existing environmental hazard warning systems and standards. This new system may help to make a given area such as a city or a factory floor safer and greener over time. The MCMS is designed to take up a hundredth of the size of a conventional air quality monitor, but can also be scaled up to for metropolitan or industrial needs. Bosch and Intel hope that the MCMS will be taken up in any region affected by poor air quality, regardless of development levels or economic status.

Top image: Bosch Air Quality Micro Climate Monitoring System (MCMS): Front with knobs (Intel)

References:

Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions Private Limited. Micro-Climate Monitoring System. Bosch India Software. 2017. Available at: http://www.bosch-india-software.com/en/tech_next/mcms/mcms_1.html

Byte, N. Air Pollution Monitoring Solution by Intel and Bosch Provides Intelligent Data to Help Manage Air Quality. Intel Newsroom. 2017. Available at: https://newsroom.intel.com/news/air-pollution-monitoring-solution-intel-bosch-provides-intelligent-data-help-manage-air-quality/?cid=em-elq-27263&utm_source=elq&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=27263&elq_cid=2826121

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Deirdre O’Donnell

Deirdre O’Donnell received her MSc. from the National University of Ireland, Galway in 2007. She has been a professional writer for several years. Deirdre is also an experienced journalist and editor with particular expertise in writing on many areas of medical science. She is also interested in the latest technology, gadgets and innovations.Read More

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