February 29, 2024

Mobile Physics is revolutionizing our smartphones, turning them into air quality detectors.

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Presently, our smartphones function as our eyes and ears, and now, they’re expanding their capabilities to include our sense of smell as well.

Startup Mobile Physics is developing innovative technology to transform our phones into personal “envirometers,” capable of identifying pollution, as reported by Axios:

  • Utilizing smartphone sensors and cameras, the technology detects air quality, smoke levels, UV exposure, temperature, and more.
  • The accompanying app issues real-time notifications, alerting users to hazardous levels when detected.
  • It provides specific instructions, such as opening or closing windows, activating air purifiers, or wearing a mask.
  • Semiconductor companies Qualcomm and STMicroelectronics are integrating this technology into a chip for incorporation into Android phones.

While current smartphones display air quality levels, the data is sourced from nearby weather stations rather than the user’s precise location.

This limitation means that our phones cannot warn us of dangers in crucial places, such as our homes, where routine activities like vacuuming or cooking may result in unhealthy air quality.

This technology…

…has the potential to generate a wealth of data that various sectors, including insurance, government, and health, would likely be willing to pay a premium for.

Mobile Physics envisions introducing a subscription plan, allowing users to pay for additional information, such as comparing their exposure levels to those around them or accessing historical data.

This could be particularly valuable for at-risk groups, like individuals with respiratory problems, who may want to monitor their air quality more closely.

Cloudy outlook

The sight of orange skies over the summer underscored the escalating concern of air pollution as an environmental issue.

It’s a perilous problem: The World Health Organization estimates that air pollution leads to approximately 7 million premature deaths annually, resulting in damages totaling $8.1 trillion, according to the World Bank Group.

While smartphone technology cannot eliminate smoke, it has the potential to raise awareness of the danger and perhaps contribute to keeping us — and the planet — a bit safer.

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