Air is one of the main elements of man's surroundings. The air makes the atmosphere of the earth. But the air is getting polluted from the release of toxic gases by industries, vehicle emissions, etc. So people need to be aware of the current air quality around them. We should all know whether we are breathing clean air or polluted air. Our concern for Air Quality has inspired us to build a low-cost automated real-time air quality monitoring system.
What does our solution at Technatorium achieve?
It reads various properties of the air and different gases that help better understand the air quality. For example, we can track the following attributes: Temperature, Humidity, Particulate Matter, CO) with sensors.
The data collected from our sensor array are then packages into JSON string and are then transmitted to our cloud-based server using the Lora Communication protocol.
The receiving device from the Lora transmission collects the JSON data and upload the collected information to the server using the MQTT protocol.
The server in the cloud processes the data received via MQTT and writes it in a MySQL Database. After that, the data is accessible by the Business Intelligence Dashboard called Grafana to make a visual representation of the data.
How did we build the solution?
First, we start experimenting with the sensor and the microcontroller to read data from the sensors. Then, after we knew that the sensors were functioning correctly, we focused on transmitting and receiving the JSON-based data over the Lora network. After successfully receiving the data, we then uploaded the data and stored it inside a MYSQL database. The last step was the data visualization effort by using Grafana to view various statistics and charts related to our air quality information collected.
What were some of the challenges that we ran into?
There are many technical challenges we ran into while building this project. The biggest challenge was using the Lora modules with the microcontroller board. It took the Technatorium team considerable effort to make the setup to transmit and receive data properly. In addition, we encountered other challenges related to calibrating the sensors for proper reading, creating the databases to store the data, and identifying the appropriate data visualization approach.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We can successfully build an automated system that monitors air properties, sends the data over Lora, and visualize the received data in real-time that can generate notifications to the general public due to adverse air quality issues.
What we learned
We learned about many technical things like how the Lora communication works, transmit and receive data over a significant distance, and use environmental sensors to capture data. Also, we learned to use applications like node-red for the middleware and Grafana to process and visualize the data in real-time with graphs and charts.
What's next for IoT Based Air Monitoring System with LoRa
The primary next step will be implementing the Lora WAN protocol in our project and using a dedicated multichannel gateway to receive the data. Also, some other improvements will be in creating, creating, and using our own city-wide Lora WAN network and continue working with IoT-based technologies.