Four engineers from the Milan Polytechnic have designed Arianna, an “intelligent” vase that measures air quality and detects fine particulate matter.
In ancient Greece there was Pandora’s Box, a legendary container in which the gods had “locked up” all the evils of the world. In 21st century Milan, on the other hand, there is Ariadne’s box, an intelligent device that can help us in the fight against pollution. These are not myths or legends: Ariadne is the fruit of the intuition and work of four young engineers from the Milan Polytechnic. Paolo Barbato, Carlo Alberto Gaetaniello, Fulvio Bambusi and Andrea Bassi have designed a modular structure that can be placed on balconies or windowsills of city apartments to measure air quality. The pot is made of recycled plastic with a 3D printer. At the top, there is a solar panel that provides power to the device. At the bottom, however, there is an air intake with an air particulate sensor that detects the presence of fine dust or other pollutants. In particular, Arianna is specialized in the detection of nitrogen dioxide, one of the main pollutants related to the combustion process of cars, domestic boilers and industrial activities.
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Arianna: the “intelligent” vase that hunts down particulate matter
After collecting data on air quality, the Arianna pot connects to the home wifi network and transmits the information to the Wise Air app. This creates a true “neighborhood environmental monitoring system” that can be accessed for free by anyone, even those who don’t own the Arianna jar. “We were heavily sensing the problem of air pollution,” explained engineer Paolo Barbato. “We asked ourselves: what is it that we can do to be able to deal with it in a concrete way? And we realized that there was a lack of capillary data and at the same time easily accessible and understandable for people. In Italy there are less than a thousand public control units that measure air quality, because these devices are very expensive and bulky. Arianna wants to be a complementary tool, it wants to add more detailed information on the territory and cover all those areas that are not served by fixed stations of regional agencies”.
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