Air quality monitoring has increased rapidly in the past decade in response to concerns around the health effects of pollution. Air quality monitoring networks usually have a regulatory function and are typically managed by government agencies, sometimes in collaboration with academic institutions and scientists. Large and expensive equipment typically forms the sensing infrastructure of these networks, which provide highly accurate measurements of pollution levels. However, the cost and size of these instruments have a significant impact on the density of networks and leave many areas sparsely monitored, or not monitored at all.
Dustbox 2.0 is a particulate matter monitor designed by Citizen Sense so citizens can undertake air quality sensing in their own neighborhoods. We have designed Dustbox 2.0 based on our experience of citizen sensing in the US and the UK, including with our Dustbox 1.0.
The shape of Dustbox 2.0 resembles particulate matter, including pollen and diesel particles, when magnified under an electron microscope. The housing is 3D-printed. The Dustbox 2.0 uses a Plantower PMS5003 sensor to detect particles. These sensors use an infrared laser to optically sense and measure airborne particulate matter. There is a small fan that draws air into the sensor and passes it through a laser that can detect the concentration and size of particles in the air.