It’s all about keeping fit and staying healthy these days; whether it’s going to the gym, eating clean or simply getting enough fresh air… but what about the air inside our homes? Few may know this, but many building materials, insulations, fabrics, and cleaning chemicals create harmful toxins within our four walls. So how do we prevent such dangers? The new and exciting Aura puts YOU back in control of your home by detecting any nasty pollutants that may be poisoning your air. Whatever is inside your home, Aura will let you know if you can do more!
So what’s the big fuss?
We spend an average 80% of our lives indoors and its only fair to expect that the air we breathe is safe and not stale or filled with pollutants, allergens and toxins. When pushed to the limits, a person can go without food for three weeks and water for three days, but not very long without air! The air we breathe is so under rated and is taken for granted that we don't even think about what it contains.
Numerous research has revealed the direct link between on indoor pollutions and health issues such as asthma, respiratory and cardio diseases. We believe the only way to address this is to take control in our hands and ensure we understand the quality of the air we breathe.
Aura – Elegant yet Effective
Aura is your sixth sense smart device that warns you about the dangers you might not notice, while helping you understand the quality of air you breathe by monitoring the air surrounding you.
Aura can constantly monitor air quality at your home or workplace and can alert you when they reach levels that may harm you and your loved ones, giving you the power to take informed decisions.
The LEDs on the device glows in different colours to alert you of the air quality at the same time alerting your phone via Bluetooth.
The Tech Behind Aura
At the heart of Aura is a powerful Texas Instruments microcontroller specially engineered for IoT i.e. low power consumption and high performance.
A number of sensors constantly monitor and deliver information to the main processor to compute IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) score. The IAQ data along with environmental parameters such as temperature, humidity and pressure are passed on to a connected smart phone that runs the Aura App by a Bluetooth connection.
This data is then uploaded to the Microsoft cloud by the smart phone for historical and trend analysis. While this happens remotely, Aura also changes the LED glow to reflect the current indoor air quality, with neon blue to reflect good air quality, amber to reflect poor air quality and red to reflect dangerous air quality levels.
Aura app stores all historical data on the cloud without overloading your smartphone memery. Aura app processes and analyses hystorical data to establsih patterns in increasing or decreasing air quality. It also tracks cumulative exposure over time and send notifications and alerts when levels get close to reach the threshold. It has never been easier to protect your home from dangerous gases and pollutants.
The Aura Story
At the beginning of 2015 Daily Mail published an article about indoor environmental contamination: “How the AIR in your house could be making you ill: From drying washing to using a gas cooker, 15 million homes are affected by Toxic Home Syndrome – which increases the risk of heart disease and cancer”. In this article Professor Peter Howarth, specialising in allergies and respiratory diseases, talks about Toxic Home Syndrome (THS). THS is where a person's health deteriorates because of the poor air in their home. Air inside can contain hundreds of potentially harmful chemicals which damage people health and very often people don't realise why.
It took us over a year to come up with idea and develop your solution for indoor environmental monitoring. We searched for available IoT technologies and platforms and chose innovative technologies from world known companies to implement our vision. Product design, however, posed a bigger challenge initially - we have done some rounds of product design till we reached the point when we were happy with product look. We hope you like it and if you choose to back Aura, we promise to bring you a gadget that will protect your health.
What is indoor air pollution?
Gases and particles that are released into the air from a variety of sources can pollute the air and decrease the quality indoors.
VOCs, or Volatile Organic Compounds, are organic chemicals that evaporate into air at room temperature. They include both man-made and naturally occurring chemical compounds such as Methane, Isobutane, Carbon monoxide, Hydrogen, Ethanol, Acetaldehyde, Acetone, Toluene, Xylene. While harmful, VOCs are typically not acutely toxic, however, exposure can lead to numerous immediate symptoms (such as headaches, skin irritation, difficulty breathing, nose bleeding, nausea, and fatigue), as well as long-term health conditions (asthma, high-blood pressure, organ damage, and sometimes cancer).
Where is this pollution coming from?
Indoor air pollution has many sources:
- Combustion sources – oil, gas, kerosene, coal and wood
- Tobacco products
- Wet / damp carpet or building materials
- Cabinetry or furniture made of certain pressed wooden products
- Household cleaning products
- Personal care products
- Outdoor air pollution
How do I know if my house is polluted? What can you do about it?
First, you need to measure your Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). You can invite expensive professionals to come and measure your home’s pollution once every blue moon, or you can purchase your Aura which not only measures and monitors your level of pollutions 24/7, but also calculates your exposures over time.
After monitoring your home environment for a few days, you can see fluctuations of your IAQ depending on your indoor activities. This can help you see which daily processes are causing the pollution, or if you have consistency high levels then you know you have a source from within your four walls.
Generally speaking, there are three methods of decrease air pollution in your home.
1. Remove the source
Removing the offending source is usually best course of action since it’s generally the most effective. Some of these fixes will be easy and inexpensive, while others might be more time-consuming or costly but, overall, removing the source is never a bad idea.
2. Improve ventilation
Improving ventilation can also drastically improve the air quality of your home. Opening windows and allowing your indoor air to flow out, and clean outdoor air flow in will help flush harmful pollutants out. This is particularly important when you’re doing activities that can generate high levels of VOCs, such as painting or other home improvement projects, or even cooking.
3. Clean the air
Air cleaners, such as HEPA filters, can also be useful aids. It is important to note, however, that some HEPA filters are less effective than others, and that these filters only target air particles not gas pollutants.
Breathe clean air and live better. While you can’t make your air perfectly pure, you can take critical steps to improve your air quality and decrease your exposure to dangerous pollutants.
We are an international team of engineers and architects specialising in electronics, software, mechanics and cloud configuration. Our development team is mainly based in the UK and Sweden.
Between us, we have over 50 years of experience in product design and development mainly around consumer electronics and Cloud architecture and have worked for companies such as Intel, Microsoft, Sharp and Nokia.