One of the more interesting aspects of mobile innovation recently has been the sheer number of things that are now detectable, either via your smartphone or via some other wearable device.
I wrote earlier this year, for instance, about a new wearable device that is designed to monitor air quality.
The device, called Breathe, is a small white clip that you can attach to any piece of clothing. The device is capable of measuring the air quality as we move through particular environments.
When the device is connected up with the Breathe app, it then allows the wearer to track the air quality in all of the locations they’ve visited that day, providing them with a kind of heat map of pollution to help them try and pick cleaner routes. It will even warn the user if the air quality becomes particularly dangerous at any time.
What’s more, this data is then gathered up together and pooled with other Breathe users to provide a crowdsourced database of air quality levels around the world.
Wearable air quality monitoring
The potential for this is underlined by a recent project undertaken by researchers at North Carolina State University.
The researchers are utilizing nanotechnology to build wearable sensors that can not only detect the air quality around us, but also our own vital signs.
The sensors could, for instance, monitor for things such as ozone or carbon monoxide levels, all the while also recording our heart rate and hydration levels.
This data could then be fed directly to our smartphone, or even to our doctor. The aim of the project is to help people who suffer from breathing conditions such as asthma.
In an attempt to head off any possible energy concerns, the device is being made to harvest energy from our body, with both our body heat and motion used to generate the energy required to run the device.
You can find out more about the research via the video below.