Smartphone-based air quality measurement gets personal: Page 4 of 7

June 16, 2020 //By Alexander Herrmann, Project Director Optical Sensing Business, and Dr. Richard Fix, Product Portfolio Manager, Bosch Sensortec
 Smartphone-based air quality measurement gets personal
This article provides insights into new PM2.5 and VOC sensing technologies that enable personal air quality monitoring to improve people’s health and well-being.

Detecting VOCs

Another airborne source of concern is presented by volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which is a pretty large group of chemically reactive gases that can appear in any room. With people typically spending 90% of their life indoors, the concentration of VOCs in ambient indoor air can significantly impact our well-being and health.

A VOC sensor can detect a wide range of gases both inside buildings and outdoors, such as (hydro-) carbon compounds (e.g. alcohol or CO), sulphide compounds (causing unpleasant smells, e.g. H2S), and solvents (e.g. acetone). They come, for example, from paint, lacquers or detergents. In a smart home, VOC information helps to control multiple devices, such as turning a kitchen hood on and off, or starting an air purifier. Additionally, it can be used to generate alerts, for example by detecting a fire, or even spoiled food in a refrigerator. VOC data can also be used with other Internet of Things (IoT) applications, for example optimizing ventilation in an office building based on air quality.

Figure 2: Impact of VOCs and PM2.5 on air quality.

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