AirOwl

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The AirOwl is the latest air-quality assessment device designed by OIZOM Instruments under the initiative by IODA which is based on the principle of DIY (Do-It-Yourself). The device is required to be assembled by the user and registered onto an open-data platform. The idea is to encourage people in addressing the situation of bad air-quality by voluntarily contributing their data to the world. The vision behind this approach is to offer people access to the air-quality data of 1000+ locations across Delhi through which they can properly assess the situation and formulate effective community driven actions to address the situation in a holistic manner.

AirOwl is the smallest size air-quality assessment device which can be used both indoor and outdoor and offers data on dust level SPM 2.5 and 10 along with humidity and temperature for air-quality assessment.It has been designed for the people to be a part of this revolutionary moment. People from different places can setup the device and contribute the data to the community and help in creating a hub for open-source knowledge and various other tools for necessary action.

Features


The features of AirOwl are:

  • Portable and easy assembly

The kit is designed for people of all age groups. You may not even require any additional tool to make the device.

  • Simple and easy to set up

We have made sure that you instantly get connected to your device. Simply log in to the platform and register your device and start monitoring the air around you!

  • Advance visualisation

Graphs speak more than numbers. You can observe the changing patterns of air quality and analyse the daily, weekly as well as monthly trends at any time.

Dimensions


Airowl 1.png

AirOwl is a small air-quality monitoring device that can be used for both indoor and outdoor monitoring. The dimensions of the device are as follows:

  • Length: 5.90 inches (15 cm)
  • Breath: 3.93 inches (10 cm)
  • Width: 1.96 inches (5 cm)

List of components (Airowl Wi & 3G)


The device is based on DIY (Do-It-Yourself). All the sensors installed in the device are open source except the mainboard, which has been designed by Oizom. The list of sensors installed are as under:

Arduino Nano:

Arduino nano.png

The Arduino Nano is a versatile, embedded micro-controller board based on the popular Arduino board formats. It can, quite conveniently, be used on breadboards and can be powered via a Mini-B USB connection. Only a 6-20V unregulated external power supply, or 5V regulated external power supply is required to power it up. The Arduino Nano can be programmed using a software package, written in Java, called "Arduino". It has a 16KB of programmable memory and 14 GPIO pins.


Dust Sensor:

Dust1.jpg

The dust sensor is a very stable sensor that offers accurate reading on air quality. It uses the laser scattering principle to detect the dust particles in air, with good selectivity and stability. It is easy to use, with UART output & analog output.


WiFi Module:

Wifi.png

The ESP8266 WiFi Module is a self contained SOC with integrated TCP/IP protocol stack that can give any micro-controller access to the WiFi network. The ESP8266 is capable of either hosting an application or offloading all WiFi networking functions from another application processor. Each ESP8266 module comes pre-programmed with an AT command set firmware, meaning, you can simply hook this up to your Arduino device and get about as much WiFi-ability as a WiFi Shield offers. The ESP8266 module is an extremely cost effective board with a huge, and ever growing, community.


SIMCOM Sim900A:

Gsm.jpg

Sim900A is an ultra compact and reliable wireless module. It is a complete Dual-band GSM/GPRS solution in a SMT module which can be embedded in the customer applications allowing any user to benefit from smaller dimensions. It accepts commands from Arduino Nano through UART. It has an external antenna as well.


Casing:

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The design of the casing is simple yet beautiful. AirOwl can become a part of the family of antiques or gadgets you have in your house and it is really attractive.

How to setup


The device is based on DIY (Do-It-Yourself) so any user who purchases the AirOwl will have to assemble the device all by him/herself. Assembling the device is way easy. As a matter of fact, anyone who wishes to develop the design further or add in new hardware can easily do so by accessing the GitHub account which contains all the details from hardware setup to programming and firmware designing etc.

Assemble Your Airowl


Having checked all the components, now it's time to connect all of them together to get you Airowl working. Perform the following steps to assemble your Airowl.

Step 1: Getting started.

With the Airowl’s front face acrylic kept upside down place the Airowl PCB over it such that the spacers coincide with the respective holes on the Airowl PCB

Step1.gif

Step 2: Connecting Laser Dust Module to the Airowl Board.

This step involves the connection of Laser Dust module to the Airowl PCB. The connector included in the kit is to be used for the purpose. Firstly an end of the connector is carefully inserted into the highlighted port of Dust module in the image below. Next, the other end is inserted at the back side of PCB towards the bottom.

                         Win1.jpg     Win2.jpg
Step2.gif

Step 3: Placing Arduino Nano on Airowl Board.

Arduino Nano is mounted on the PCB as shown in the image.The correct orientation of the Arduino Nano is such that its USB port should point towards the right side of the Airowl PCB when seen from the top.

Step3.gif

For Airowl 3G users:

Step 4: Placing GSM/GPRS Module on the Airowl Board.

Having placed Arduino Nano over the PCB, next the GSM/GPRS Module is mounted on the PCB. The correct orientation is depicted in the image below.

Step4.gif

For Airowl Wi users:


Step 4: Placing ESP8266 WiFi Module on the Airowl Board. Having placed Arduino Nano over the PCB, next the ESP8266 WiFi Module is mounted on the PCB. The correct orientation is depicted in the image below.

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Step 5: Fitting spacer studs for the support.

Screw the spacer studs over their defined location, required for the support of Airowl’s back acrylic.

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Step 6: Placing the back face of the Airowl.

Place the transparent back acrylic such that the holes on the acrylic coincide over the corresponding studs.

Step6.gif

Step 7: Power up your Airowl.

Having followed all the above instructions, the hardware assembly of your Airowl is completed. Now you need to power up the Airowl with the power adapter through the power jack located at the bottom low of the Airowl PCB. As soon as the Airowl is powered, the eyes of the Airowl starts blinking!

Step7.png

Great! You are done with the hardware assembly, now it’s time to register your Airowl on Indian open data association’s server and do your bit for the society.

Register your Airowl


Yay! If you’ve reached to this section, which means you’ve successfully assembled your Airowl. Now the next and the final step before getting your Airowl working is to register your Airowl on your server so that you can contribute to the society by sharing air quality data of your surroundings.

After assembling your device, you can see your Airowl’s eyes start blinking. This shows that your Airowl is ready and is to be register on the server. For registering your device follow these simple steps

Step 1: Download the “Air Q India” App

The registration of your Airowl is to be done using our App “Air Quality India”, which can be easily downloaded from Google Play Store. Here’s the link to our App

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Step 2: Select Device type as “Airowl”

Out of all the other options of devices, tap on ‘Airowl’. Further choose the version of your Airowl i.e. ‘Airowl Wi’.

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Step 3: Connect to your Airowl

Out of all the Wi-Fi available, select ‘Airowl_< Serial No. >’ and click on connect. Your phone will automatically get connected to your Airowl.

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Step 4: Connect your Airowl to Wi-Fi available nearby

To connect your Airowl to Wi-Fi available nearby, select that Wi-Fi from the drop down menu and enter it’s password. Then tap on connect & your Airowl will connect to the server.

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Now eyes’ of the Airowl stops blinking which shows successful connection.


Re-coding your Airowl


All the Arduino Nano in the Airowl DIY kit are pre-coded to perform the designated task. But if you somehow happen to change the pre-loaded code in the Arduino Nano or used it for another purpose, No worries then! Just follow these simple steps to get back you Airowl working.

Step 1: Installing Arduino IDE

If you already have Arduino IDE installed on your PC, then you can skip this step. While for those who doesn’t have Arduino IDE on their PC click on the link beside their operating system for installation of Arduino IDE on their PC

Windows

Mac OS X

Linux

Step 2: Get the code from GitHub Repository

Having Arduino installed on your PC, now it’s time to fetch the code for the Airowl’s Arduino Nano from the GitHub Repository of Indian Open Data Association.

(i) Click on “Clone or download” button and select “Download ZIP” option. The repository starts downloading.

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(ii) Extract the folder to any desire location and go to:

India-Open-Environment-Data-Project-master > Airowl > Firmware > Airowl_wifi if you are using Airowl Wi

India-Open-Environment-Data-Project-master > Airowl > Firmware > Airowl_3G if you are using Airowl 3G

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(iii) Open the .ino file in the folder on Arduino IDE and you’ll be able to view the code which is needed to be uploaded on the Arduino Nano

W1.jpg


(iv) Click over the Tools and select the following:

Board: “Arduino Nano”

Processor: “ATmega328”


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NOTE: Also select the port where the Arduino Nano is pnlugged in.

(v) Now click over the upload button and upload the code onto the Arduino Nano.

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Future Scope


This section basically explains the future scope and opportunities that makers will have in terms of improving the hardware and software standards that can enable far greater opportunities in gathering, curating and presenting data for the necessary social change within the society.

Some of the opportunities that the makers can venture into not just for AirOwl per se but for every air-quality monitoring devices that exist globally are:

  • Hardware Related

a) Deciding the Controller (Component):

The opportunity of creating such a hardware setup that can easily measure multiple different environmental parameters without too much issue in terms of programming. The hardware should also have the feature of designing an easy AP. Currently there are hardware components which either have a difficult AP programming or no AP at all. As a result most of the hardware enthusiasts have to struggle in creating a new AP. This was the process can be a lot smoother and faster.

Apart from that the controller should have the capability of integrating multiple different sensors for environment measurement.

'b) Single board with WIFI integration:

Currently for AirOwl we have used a nanochip with WIFI capability. If any enthusiastic maker can help in designing a board which has an inbuilt WIFI feature and also at the same time an easy mode of programming then it can help in creating better devices with less component requirement and better cost-effectiveness.

c) Better Gas Sensor integration:

There is a dire need for high accuracy gas sensors which can be easily integrated with an open-source development board. For instance, the multi-gas sensor by Seeed Studio is one of the examples.

At the same time there is also a need for individual high accuracy gas sensor compatible development boards which have a good number of software libraries. This way the components can be easily integrated with very little programming involved.

d) Hardware life-cycle:

Currently the life-cycle of the sensors has not been properly tested as a result, there is no actual time upto which the sensors can guarantee continuous performance. There is a need for designing of sensors which have a longer operating life and which can be easily calibrated so in case if there is any performance issue, the component can be replaced via plug an play logic.

Also the documentation on testing of the components and sensors should be made open on a single platform for easy access and understanding.

  • Software

a) Uniform API Platform:

The API for the data should have a single platform which can be developed further by integrating additional attributes and parameters about the environment and at the same time can provide the scope for its easy modification.

b) Universal UI Element:

Every pollution parameter needs to be displayed in the most simplest and easy to understand manner for a user. There is a need to create universal UI elements for each parameter that can depict a common meaning about the environment. For instance, there is a common symbol for identifying WIFI capability or Bluetooth feature. If each environmental parameter has a uniform symbol then a common knowledge base can be created globally.


FAQ's


Why you need Airowl?

We, humans, invest a lot on health-care. Ranging from a simple hand wash to the syringes, we try our best to stay away and to fight against different diseases. But still we miss many things. Air pollution is one of them. It is one of the leading killers for Indians with 1M deaths due to household air pollution from solid fuels and 630K deaths because of ambient particulate matter pollution. This is the sole reason why it is very important for all individuals to measure the air around.

Where can it be used ?

Airowl is an extremely simple D-i-Y kit and people of 10+ years of age groups can assemble it with an ease. Additionally, you can use the device anywhere. Be it inside your home, inside your bedroom or on the roof. Airowl continuously monitors the surrounding air and informs you about the same.

Why D-i-Y?

We put efforts into things which we care for! We care for our family so we do our best to keep them safe. We ourselves do that, why? Because we love them. We made Airowl as a D-i-Y kit because we understand the feeling of building something for your loved ones. And trust us, it is a beautiful feeling. We want you to experience the same feeling of love and protection towards your family.


Challenges


There were no challenges as such regarding the device. The only concern was to ensure that the device designed does not become too brittle and also that the degree of maintenance required is less.

The users will only have to ensure that the device does not fall from a height and in case if there is too much dust accumulated near the sensor then they simply have to wipe it clean so that the sensor can again start giving accurate air-quality reading.