Julien Stamatakis, Co-Founder and CTO of Senseware reflects on the process of upgrading sensor technology to meet customer needs.
Last summer, everyone, including Senseware customers were looking for strategies to keep their air clean and safe, and reduce transmission of COVID-19. One strategy that gained popularity was Needlepoint Bi-Polar Ionization (NBPI). NBPI releases ions into the air to neutralize airborne contaminants. While research is still pending on the effectiveness of NBPI, we wanted to give our customers the tools they would need to determine the impacts of the ionization efforts, and track the improvements to their air.
“We wanted to give customers ways to assess the effectiveness of their mitigation methods. For us it was really important to have a product that not only measured ions, but also PM and VOC so they can really measure the effectiveness of their solution - to know truly is it working or not”
Senseware Co-Founder and CTO
Measuring Air Contaminants
The process of NBPI impacts all airborne contaminants, and it’s effectiveness can be measured by tracking the concentration of Particulate Matter (PM) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) in the air.
Air Contaminants Defined
Particulate Matter is “a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. Some particles, such as dust, dirt, soot, or smoke, are large or dark enough to be seen with the naked eye. Others are so small they can only be detected using an electron microscope.”
Volatile Organic Compounds are “emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects.”
By measuring the concentration of PM and VOC’s in the air before and after NBPI is introduced, we can start to understand how effective the ionization process is.
Measuring Ion Reach
NBPI releases ions into the air. As ions interact with airborne particles, they neutralize them. A NBPI system can only be effective if the ions are reaching all areas of a building, including those hard to reach corners. In order to help our customers determine if this was happening, we needed an ion sensor that could meet the task of providing sustained accurate measurement across buildings.
Developing Best in Class Sensors
The Senseware team began searching for the best in class sensors that would give our customers the accurate information they needed to make informed decisions about the effectiveness of their NBPI systems, and the health of their air.
- Testing sensors in the lab
The team began by bringing in equipment from around the globe to the Senseware Lab, testing the sensors for accuracy under a variety of conditions.
Once they were satisfied with the accuracy of the equipment they began prototyping the encolsures to ensure maximum air flow for sustained measurements, and connectivity to the Senseware platform. Centralized access to air quality measurements building wide on one dashboard is essential for making informed decisions.
- Ongoing testing and monitoring
Following rounds of enclosure and connectivity prototyping, the team continues to test our ion sensors to ensure best in class performance.
Introduction of the ion sensor
Senseware’s release of IAQ-I, a best in class ion measurement tool, enables our customers to feel confident about the effectiveness of their NBPI systems. Senseware’s nimble approach to product development allowed us to be first to market with an urgently needed solution.
Improved PM Sensor
The importance of measuring PM as a proxy for the effectiveness of NBPI encouraged us to re-examine our existing PM sensors, and see if there was any way measurement could be improved. Research and discovery led us to an improved sensor that measured PM down to 0.3 microns - the most sensitive measurement on the market.
The development doesn’t stop here
Senseware is constantly working to ensure our sensing technology is best in class, providing you with the peace of mind you need to know your air is safe.