We are a group of three engineering students entering our senior year. To begin our senior design project, we decided to enter the hackathon. This simple air quality monitor is step one in our senior design project. Eventually, we plan to construct a device that will accurately measure forest fire pollution levels and remotely send that data to a virtual hub. This project allowed us to learn more about the sensors we will be using and how to get the information that we need from them.
What it does
This devices measures several different types of air pollutants as well as relative humidity and temperature. It can sense particulate matter, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide. This information is read via the arduino and then sent to our web domain. Here, the information is processed and used to display real time graphs of the levels of pollutants in one's house. This information is also stored in a database for future use.
How we built it
We built this device in a modular manner. That is, we broke the work down into several mini projects using the arduino nano. Each sensor was coded to be read and the data displayed via the serial monitor. Then, each device was one by one integrated into the same board with the arduino 101. The code was compiled together by Austen Stone, who then configured the information to be sent to a web domain. The data sheet for each sensor had to be investigated in detail in order to calibrate the sensors as accurately as possible.
Challenges we ran into
The greatest challenge that we ran into was calibrating the boards accurately. Because we did not have any controlled environment to compare the readings of the gas sensors to known values, we had to use the power curves given by the data sheet to solve for the resistance values needed to calibrate the devices. Other challenges included communicating with the device as none of us were experienced in serial communication.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are very proud of the fact that all sensors can now run continuously and give relatively accurate information. If you visit our website, you can also see how we are able to monitor the data real time. This can show all sorts of information about the air you are breathing! Also, we are proud to finally see all the skills that we have learned in almost four years of school come to fruition.
What's next for Wildfire Pollution/Air Quality Monitor
This project will be built upon for our senior project. For a detailed description, visit our google drive!
Wildfires expose populations to a variety of environmental hazards of which there is currently no way to accurately quantify the aforementioned. The purpose of this project is to create a device which accurately monitors pollutant levels produced by these fires. This data can then be used for decisions regarding public safety, scientific research, and a host of other applications.