SmartAirLamp – Innovative eHealth device for measuring air quality

The Story

SmartMe.IO and Wobcom firmly believes that technological innovation and environmental sustainability go hand in hand. It is a virtuous combination that produces advantages for companies, for municipalities, for people and for the territory. This combination must be shared in a logic of integration to produce significant improvements to the environment and therefore to health. The sars-covid 19 pandemic has made it even more necessary to implement in a short time suitable solutions to detect and guarantee the healthiness of the environments, for a desirable return to normality. Therefore, the Research and Development Lab of SmartMe.IO in the City of Messina worked on the creation of a device, inspired by a lamp because it is easily positioned and mobile, with an innovative design, highly customizable and that could give a reliable measure of air quality: the SmartAirLamp. SmartMe.IO has met in Wobcom an important partner to implement this virtuosity for the innovation-driven Smart City of Wolfsburg.

Challenge & Context

Numerous scientific studies have proven that aerosols are a main transmission route for viruses, including Covid-19 and Sars-CoV2. Active virus particles can float longer and farther than originally thought and pose a potential danger. Regular ventilation can help to remove potentially virus-containing aerosols from the room air. This can reduce the risk of infection indoors from Corona. Therefore, measuring the CO2 concentration is a good indicator of the efficiency of room ventilation and thus of reducing the risk of infection.

WOBCOM’s WOB.smart service facilitates proper ventilation by automatically measuring CO2 levels via sensors in everyday situations. One of these sensors is the SmartAirLamp, which will be introduced in the following article. The SmartAirLamp is a further development of an already existing WOB.smart service, which is intended to make the product easier to use and more sustainable in the use of materials.

Figure 1 . Developers of SmartMe.IO

Solution

As a hardware component, sensors are essential for any air measurement that provides data and values of air composition, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), humidity, or temperature. These hardware components work based on a link to an encrypted, independent LoRaWAN® radio network or WOBCOM’s open digital platform. In the CO2 measurement use case, the solution is built on WOBCOM’s ODP ecosystem. With ODP, WOBCOM has built a tailor-made ecosystem to be able to map as many individual use cases as required for the innovation-driven Smart City of Wolfsburg. The heart of this ODP is represented by FIWARE technology, which significantly enables and powers up the respective applications.

This includes the conditions for measuring critical data in real-time, depending on the individual use case, respecting General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), and ultimately the analysis of the measured data. This is achieved through specially created dashboards, which are individually created depending on the specific use cases and customer requirements. The dashboards display the corresponding data and information on different technical devices, such as tablets, smartphones or conventional browsers.

In addition, data and information can be communicated to other linked devices via the open digital platform and further dashboards. For example, an LED cube can communicate with a measurement sensor and the WOBCOM platform to then display specific values in real-time throughout the premises where the sensor is measuring data.

The Catholic daycare centers in Wolfsburg, for example, are taking advantage of this system to ensure correct ventilation in an easy and comfortable way, to follow Covid-19 recommendations as well as following regular ventilation measures outside of pandemic times.

Although measurements can happen in any room of interest, the installed measuring devices in the daycare centers, in this case, measure CO2 values in the play and recreation rooms. These communicate with each other via the WOBCOM platform using one or more LED Cubes. An LED Cube is a device that uses light indicators to visually display changes in the measurements which in turn helps the decision to immediately initiate appropriate measures. The data is sent to the foreseen LED Cube that is linked via LoRaWAN, which, in this case, continuously displays the CO2 levels in the premises. An enormous benefit of working with such cubes is that they work like intuitive traffic lights: If the cube lights up green, the CO2 value is OK, but if it lights up yellow, it should be aired soon. If it lights up red, the appropriate CO2 value has been significantly exceeded and ventilation should be carried out immediately.
In addition to the information on CO2 levels, a dashboard can also be used to display other values such as temperature, humidity or movement over specific periods of time. The advantage of this is that heating costs, for example, can additionally be reduced in the long term.

Figure 2 . WOB.smart sensors complete equipment for fully automated air measurement.

All data are of course handled in compliance with data protection laws.

The further development of the existing WOB.smart service will enable users to measure the air quality in closed rooms with just one device (instead of the previous two components).The environmental sensors required for the measurement were integrated into the base of the SmartAirLamp. The corresponding LED cube for visualizing the air quality is then firmly mounted on the base. In addition, the development team also has the issue of sustainability firmly in view. In the future, the development team will use a power plug for power supply and thus completely dispense with battery operation. This should avoid additional disposal costs and protect the environment. Thanks to the innovative production in 3D printing, the SmartAirLamp can also be made predominantly from environmentally friendly materials on request.

WOB.smart is a modular system whose components (sensors, radio network and linked devices) are built on top of each other and use the FIWARE Context Broker as a central implementation element. The FIWARE Context Broker Generic Enabler is the core of such a solution and a mandatory component of any “Powered by FIWARE” solution or platform. It enables the management of context information in a highly decentralized and large-scale manner.

WOB.smart is a flexible system that can be installed according to individual customer requirements providing added value to a wide variety of companies and organizations in literally any industry looking to optimize its processes.

About the product

SmartAirLamp is an electronic device made by smartme.IO®, based on the arancino.ccTM architecture1 and the LoRaWAN® communication system, which lights up in a different color according to the air quality of the surrounding environment.

It consists of a 3D printed plastic case of dimensions (118×104 mm) whose main internal component is the arancino.ccTM mignon electronic board (vers.1.3).

In addition to the arancino board, there is a Nano LoRa® click module, an environmental sensor, a 24 RGB LED crown, a LoRa® wireless module and a 4G PCB antenna (for LoRa® data transmission).

The weather sensor records the temperature, pressure, humidity and VOC data and sends them to the microcontroller present in the arancino.ccTM mignon.

The microcontroller through the LoRa® module sends the score from the sensor to the gateway, and processes it by transforming it into a color code, which it sends to the ring RGB LED (which consequently changes color or rotates based on this code).

Figure 3 . Sensor Development

Color air quality index includes Air quality index scale and color legend2 is defined by the US-EPA 2016 standard.

Figure 4 . Color Air Quality Index

 

More specifically:

Colour

Air Pollution Level

Health Implications

Green

Good

Air quality is considered satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk

Yellow

Moderate

Air quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.

Orange

Unhealthy for sensitive groups

Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is not likely to be affected.

Red

Unhealthy

Everyone may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects

Purple

Very Unhealthy

Health warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected.

Brown

Hazardous

Health alert: everyone may experience more serious health effects

Data collected at the gateway LoRaWAN® node from more SmartAirLamps placed in different environments (i.e., rooms, buildings, etc.) can be sent to the cloud in order to remotely monitor the air quality.

The Smart Air Lamp can be customized at the customer’s request. In particular, the customer can choose the color or the presence of a logo or a particular writing on the lamp base. In addition, the lamp can be made with the use of eco-sustainable material.

Benefits & Impact

If your work environment has a negative impact on health, then productivity will obviously suffer. In order to achieve the best, your work space needs to be comfortable and safe. Poor air quality in the office can noticeably impair the performance and well-being of the people who work there. Therefore, the SmartAirLamp is the ideal solution. It measures the air quality and warns the workers, so they can protect themselves.

The city of Wolfsburg is on its way to becoming an even smarter city. WOBCOM is making a significant contribution to this path, among other projects, by setting up its own fiber optic network and by initiating and implementing the WOB.smart solution making use of the LoRaWAN® technical radio solution. Anatoli Seliwanow, Head of Operations at WOBCOM GmbH, states, “With projects under the name WOB.smart, such as the installations in the daycare centers, we contribute to a digital and innovative ecosystem in Wolfsburg. This open source project, with the LoRaWAN® system used, also pays into future smart city solutions, well-being and quality of life, for the city’s citizens.”

Next steps

In the future, WOBCOM and Stadtwerke Wolfsburg AG, will address additional companies as target customers with the WOB.smart solution and introduce them to the possibilities for process optimization using sensor technology combined with LoRaWAN® technology. The special feature here is that the service, in combination with mobile gateways, is technically not limited to be used in the city of Wolfsburg and the surrounding area only, where WOBCOM usually acts as a local telecommunications and connectivity service provider (private customer area).

In this period of strong digital transformation, the German government has created a strategic “Digital Agenda”, and, together with Gaia-X, is pushing the country’s innovation potential to ensure growth and employment, supporting the development of a nationwide high-speed network, and improving IT security to generate trust within the society. WOBCOM is part of this great initiative.

 

"We  provide full stack solutions from Hardware Design to Software, through Firmware and Application Design and Development. We develop and maintain Stack4Things, an OpenStack-based IoT framework that brings to connected Devices the elastic power and openness of OpenStack solutions. We provide Technical Consulting and Development services on Open Source and Open Hardware technologies such as Linux, Android, Arduino and OpenWRT. Hardware and software architecture are developed on the same concept of communication between the right hemisphere and the left hemisphere of the human brain."

Antonio Puliafito, scientific director SmartMe.io

References

Authors & Contributors

Antonio Puliafito
Scientific director SmartMe.io
Contact @ apuliafito65@gmail.com

Giovanni Coppa
Head of Data Center and Cloud Innovation
Contact @ giovanni.coppa@wobcom.de

Anatoli Seliwanow
Chief Information Officer
Contact @ anatoli.seliwanow@wobcom.de

Lisa Hillmann
Marketing Manager
Contact @ lisa.hillmann@wobcom.de

Daniel Westphal
Consultant corporate development and communication
Contact @ daniel.westphal@stadtwerke-wob.de

Azad Al-Roussan
Commercial clerk
Contact @ azad.al-roussan@wobcom.de

1 arancino.ccTM web site: https://arancino.cc/

2 Air quality index scale and color legend: https://aqicn.org/scale/