Startup uHoo begins taking orders for an IoT device that tells users via their smartphones what’s in the air they breathe.
In Beijing, air quality is a matter of major concern to residents. Elsewhere in the world, pollution may not be such a visible presence, but it can still affect people’s health.
Nearby, in Singapore, a startup called uHooplans to begin taking orders from customers worldwide for an IoT device that bears its name, based on the premise that people should know more about what’s in the air they breathe.
The uHoo device, a small $99 concave cylinder samples the air to detect carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), ozone, air pressure, volatile organic compounds, temperature, dust, and humidity, each through a dedicated sensor. Available for preorder on Tuesday, it communicates with a mobile app (Android or iOS) to provide data about the air in the area in real-time.
uHoo won’t make the air better, but the first step toward air quality improvement is knowing whether there’s a problem to begin with.
“We can help you lead a healthier life,” said Dustin Jefferson Onghanseng, CEO and cofounder of uHoo, in a phone interview. “There are a lot of allergens and toxins in the air, and we just can’t see it.”
Onghanseng said the company’s main focus is addressing air quality in homes and offices.
Those dealing with conditions like asthma or seasonal allergies may not need convincing that data about local air quality could be helpful. Others, untroubled by the unseen, could require evidence that monitoring what’s in the air is worth the trouble.
At it happens, there is evidence to that effect. In 2014, the World Health Organization estimated that in 2012 approximately 7 million people died — one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. The organization attributes about 4.3 million deaths that year to indoor air pollution, largely in households cooking over coal, wood, and biomass stoves.
While that sort of food preparation may be less common in industrialized nations than elsewhere, there are still plenty of potential problems with air quality in cities in the US.
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