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Blog

AQ Egg: First impressions

Matthew Dance

Air Quality EggMy Kickstarter contribution has finally paid off!  My Air Quality Egg has arrived in the mail!  To recap, the AQ Egg over-reached its funding goal in April 2012.  The project had asked for $39 000.00, and raised over $144 000.00 with 927 backers.  Impressive.  And scary.  As we soon learned, their were high expectation, and the egg almost hatched as vapour-ware (an impressive timeline can be found here). In short, what was promised in July 2012, was shipped in January 2013.  What shipped, sadly, is not what I had expected. Given the extra time that was used to create the egg, I was disappointed at how 'cheap' and flimsy it felt. In removing it from the shipping box, the sensor pictured at the base of the left egg became loose and fell out.  The egg, which is 'snapped' together via a vertical seam that runs around the device, was not properly 'snapped'. It was loose and I was able to easily pull the shell apart.  Furthermore, when reading the directions on how to set the sensor up, I was surprised to learn that they shipped some of the eggs, and unknown numer of them, with a software bug (the details here).

Needless to say, these are annoying details.

But, I am still a fan.  While the NO2 sensor is not sensitive enough to pick up all but the highest spikes in NO2 (that we know as no one has consistently monitored busy roadways in Edmonton), it feels cheap, and it arrived months late, it still represents a remarkable revolution.  No other AQ sensor offers such easy and inexpensive citizen access to AQ monitoring. Granted, you have to be rich and technically literate to deploy one of these things, but it is a step away from government controlled monitoring. It is possible to build or purchase at a low cost, and it is complete open sourced.  In other words, you can download a component list, 3D printing schematics, and the code to build and launch your own sensor. I have to remember that I received a V.1, and as with many V.1, there are issues. But these issues will get ironed out in successive iterations as more people look at, and improve upon, the egg.

You can learn more about the Air Quality Egg here , and you can view my (empty for now) data stream here. I'll update this when I have my egg feeding data to the web.