AirBoxLab launches Alima and we finally get an air monitoring device with a sound proposition

Jan 31, 2014
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living_room

Unless you’ve been living in a cave you’re pretty much aware that your home is getting more connected, and smarter. AirBoxLab has launched Alima, a new connected device for monitoring air quality. Now before starting rolling your eyes with yet another air quality device the value proposition behind Alima is quite different from the typical air quality competition out there.

The required sensors to measure CO2 have become quite a commodity these days with numerous home devices bringing them out of the box, even products such as the multimedia robot hub Keecker (built by a former Google employee) can track indoor quality. Of course one has to start thinking how will the connected home evolve and where does it make sense to have these devices – should there be a dedicated object for it?

Obviously a dedicated device will always perform the task better than the ones that bring it as an afterthought. So it’s not surprising to see that Alima excels at measuring air quality – it has the standard carbon dioxide, termperature and humidity sensors and then it also makes a reading of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and particle matter. The result is a more complete picture of the indoor environment with a dedicated (and gorgeous) mobile app with all sorts of insights and forecasts based on machine learning algorithms.

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What’s most exciting about Alima is the smart way they’re using the particle matter sensors. For a device like this to make sense we need to be able to actually improve the air quality, instead of just knowing how bad it is. To address this AirBoxLab is creating a crowdsourced database with different types of furniture and other products we have in our living space and will use the Alima to measure how badly they pollute the air. The products we buy all have different chemicals applied to them and they also contribute for air pollution, so if you put the Alima on top of your coffee table or your mattress it will measure the fine particles around it and will register it to its database. With this information the community can browse through the “ranking” of polluting products and make better buying decisions.

Interestingly AirBoxLab is arguing that our indoor pollution levels are on average 8X higher than outdoor pollution. I think this is eye-opening because I used to think if I knew how good or bad my indoor air quality was I would simply have to live with that – think that if you’re living in Beijing and open the windows you would most likely be polluting your home! But knowing that such a device can warn you when to recycle your indoor air with such a big differential between indoor/outdoor makes me want to start using it.

To get the final product out there on consumers hands AirBoxLab has launched an Indiegogo campaign with a $50.000 and has so far raised ~$7.500. Check out their website to know more of it. I don’t know if this is going to be the one device for us to monitor indoor air quality, but the idea of a crowdsourced object quality in terms of air polluting particles/chemicals puts my vote on their model!