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Breathe Smarter with IoT

Air purifiers and inhalers are embracing connectivity to keep our lungs healthy
Ali Payani has seen the dangers of air pollution firsthand – not only has pollution sickened hundreds of people in places he’s lived like Dubai and Iran, but poor air quality has also impacted his mother, who has a respiratory disease. So with a background in computers and artificial intelligence, Payani wanted to apply what he knew to help others.

Fortment CEO Ali Payani

Payani’s solution is a wearable that uses sensors to measure and analyze the surrounding air quality as you walk, alerting you to dangerous chemicals or heavily polluted areas nearby. He hopes to launch the device in January at CES 2018 with the startup he founded, Fortment.
He isn’t the only one – from a pocket-sized air monitor that plugs into phones to “smart inhalers,” creations from inventors and entrepreneurs are using sensors, phone apps and IoT connectivity to inform us about the air around us. Not only do the upgrades help users stay informed about air quality, Payani says, but could help cities and scientists create a cleaner environment for us all.
A System, Not Just a Product
As sensors have become smaller and cheaper, IoT features have become more accessible and can collect more data. This gives companies like Ecolife entire systems based around their air purifiers, Vice President and Managing Director Adam Pastuszka says.
Ecolife combines both indoor and outdoor sensors to provide personalized warnings and recommendations about the air around you. Enter an area with too much smog or unhealthy chemicals? A nearby Ecolife would notify you through its phone app that monitors the purifiers. This data can easily be shared or seen by others with Ecolife purifiers, ensuring that a community can stay knowledgeable about their air quality.
EcoLife won CES Asia’s 2017 Innovation Honoree award, and is currently beta testing its product in Poland. The company is in talks to expand to China, California and Spain and plans to launch the device at the end of this year or early next, says Pastuszka.
AI Fighting Asthma
Those with Asthma could greatly benefit from devices like these. Fortment’s device, for example, features Asthma+, a “special set of AI features” that learns how users control and manage their asthma attacks to help monitor their current status.  

Propeller Health

Meanwhile, Propeller Health is bringing tech straight to the inhaler. They created a small sensor to attach to the top of inhalers that records when, where and why you use the inhaler, allowing users and their doctors to gain more insight about what triggers their asthma. With the added information, users experienced 70 percent fewer asthma attacks and 50 percent more symptom free days, the website says.
“Smog is a Social Issue”
Data like this is an important first step – not only does it give consumers the info they need, but gives scientists the information needed for future research. Payani imagines that researchers or entire cities could use the data to study how to remove the pollutants.
“If we plan to change the air quality and make the world a better place, we need accurate, exact data from millions of places,” Payani says. “And with AI, we can gather as much data as we can correlate.”
With enough information and interest, Ecolife’s Pastuszka imagines that their products could also result in greener decisions in government.
“Smog is a social issue,” he says. “If we create a huge community of hundreds and thousands of people around a similar platform and positive idea, a real difference could be made.”

Jeremy Snow