GXN, the innovation arm of Danish architecture studio 3XN , has developed a twittering air-quality sensor that hopes to draw attention to the negative effects of air pollution within our homes and offices. Called AirBird , it takes the shape and colour of the bright yellow canaries that used to be brought into coal mines to warn workers of carbon monoxide and other toxic gases. The birds were more sensitive to these and would become ill before the miners, giving them time to get out. Similarly, the AirBird sensor works by measuring indoor carbon dioxide levels, which increase without proper ventilation as humans use up the available oxygen in a room and exhale it as CO2. Outdoor air generally has a carbon dioxide concentration of around 350 to 400 parts of CO2 per million particles of air, though this varies from area to area and increases in industrial and heavy-traffic areas. But crowded or badly air-conditioned indoor environments can expose their inhabitants to levels of 1,000 parts per million (ppm), which has been shown to have a negative impact on our cognitive functioning and productivity . GXN’s solution takes the form of a small, battery-powered device shaped like an […]

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