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Have you ever wondered how to measure the quality of the air around you? With air pollution reaching unprecedented levels, it is critical to understand the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in your environment using the new Temperature, Pressure, Humidity, and VOC Whisker!
In chemistry, volatility represents how quickly a given substance evaporates. So, volatile organic compounds are carbon-based compounds that evaporate very rapidly and can easily build up into smog clouds. Some of them are perfectly safe, but overexposure to many others has been linked to increased rates of allergies, respiratory disease, and various cancers.
Some of the most dangerous include:
While the technology to measure each VOC individually is currently in the developmental phases, it is quite possible to measure the total quantity of VOC's in the environment. Let's get started!
Due to the fact that VOC's tend to be a very small percentage of the air's composition, there is considerable variance in their concentration depending on your location.
Luckily, the code for this project calibrates the sensor for you! When you first start the sketch, the processor will work to establish the correct baseline for your area. While a fairly accurate air quality reading is displayed right away, the code will progressively adjust the scale over the next 18 hours in order to reach the peak accuracy.
If you wish to customize the burn-in period you can do so by opening AirQualityIndex.ino in your favorite text editor and modifying the RANGE_DURATION constant, as shown below:
const int RANGE_DURATION = 18; // 50% of the VOC portion of the air quality reading will be based on the difference between the current value and the extremes of the last RANGE_DURATION hours
Once you have uploaded your code, the TinyScreen+ should begin displaying the air quality using a graphical progress bar!
Here are some fun experiments we tried with the VOC sensor along with our results. We encourage you to explore your area and see what you find!
As always, if you have any questions or feedback, feel free to email us at email@example.com. We would love to hear any ideas for improvement or new projects you were inspired to work on!
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Thanks for making with us!!