Research on DIY kit for a Portable Low-Cost Air-Quality Sensor-System


Hello, I am Jarred (he/him), a senior computer science major at Earlham College. I really enjoy learning about science and the ethical side of research and development and I hope to pursue a career where I can help create a more equitable and just society. Here is the abstract for my capstone work:

Research Abstract

A low-cost portable sensor system allows users to monitor the different components of the air quality around them. There is a need for a sensor system like this because of the millions of deaths and diseases that occur every year due to air pollution worldwide. My planned contribution is for the prototype sensor system I design and build to be as DIY (do it yourself) and low-cost as possible while still being usable in a theoretical online network for large-scale pollution mapping in real time. The bulk of this paper is going over the research going into making a air-quality sensor-system before finally concluding with evaluations and results. The sensors in the system created are programmed together to work as one unit. The system has been tested and evaluated on: the robustness of the system indoors and outdoors, analyzing the repeatability of the experiment, accessing how the system could further be improved for ease-of-access to users financially, testing system portability, and the practicality of the theoretical network that could be made with multiple sensor-systems. The results of this research have concluded that a portable low-cost air-quality sensor-system using a PMS3003 sensor along with a BME280 sensor would be completely possible and practical. However, because of shortcomings in gaseous sensor technology, the system would become impractical to include any gaseous sensors at this time. In conclusion, the sensor portability technology for gaseous sensors needs to be more heavily focused on in order to create a complete low-cost air-quality sensor-system, but a system without gaseous readings could very easily be created for data mapping and environmental monitoring for users. The theoretical network has not been tested, but according to the research conducted, the network would be possible and practical if there is a proper enough density of sensor systems.

Software Diagram

Link To GitLab Project

The GitLab project includes code, descriptions, a pdf of my research paper, and instructions on how to recreate the sensor-system created in this research.

Software Demonstration Video