Monday, July 25, 2011

Students make an air pollution detector out of a vacuum cleaner

A robotic vacuum cleaner that can
also detect indoor air pollutants?
(Photo by Christopher)
Students of the Rhode Island School of Design have turned a robotic “Roomba” vacuum cleaner into a machine that can sense air pollution, news reports say.

They installed sensors and light systems on the vacuum cleaner, which can alert users to poor indoor air quality or sources of indoor air pollution in rooms.

“Roomba--the room cleaning vacuum--is programmed to travel all around a room once it is left to roam. Therefore, it is an ideal tool to assess the quality of air through out a room," the students said in an article posted on the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science.

The robotic vacuum cleaners can detect an increase in the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air, which triggers a light change to alert the user.

"In areas where there are more VOCs the light on 'Roomba' changes from green to blue. Looking at this image you can easily spot an area of indoor air-pollution," the students said.

The students said they planned to add a sensor for formaldehyde, a common indoor and harmful indoor air-pollutant.

An article on tech site CNET said the components involved include a sub-$20 air quality sensor, an LED, and a battery.

Source: TJD, GMA News

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