Our Open Source Open Hardware Vision

by Achim Haug

From the start and being heavily affected by air pollution ourselves, we want to maximize the impact our air quality monitors have. As a result we open sourced the hardware of most of our monitors. This includes the firmware of the monitors as well as our air quality map. This allows disadvantaged communities around the world to enhance their air quality monitoring with a trusted design. You can read more about our Core Beliefs.

We open-sourced our first air quality DIY kits in 2019/2020 and have since then consistently improved the hardware and software with the following key aspects:

Support Education & Awareness / Arduino Library

One of the first people building the AirGradient DIY monitors were high school students in Northern Thailand. Since then, we have made numerous workshops with students from 10 years onwards to build monitors and then use them to check the air quality in their classrooms. Building these monitors not only teaches them about electronics, coding and data analysis but also gives them a great sense of ownership. In order to make the coding part very accessible, we maintain an Arduino library because this is often the first place where students learn about microcontrollers and sensors.

As a result we believe it is important to keep on maintaining an easily accessible firmware for students and people with less coding skills.

High Quality Hardware and Sensors

An air quality monitor is only as good as the sensors being used in it. There are good and affordable sensor modules available which we use in our hardware design. We also spend a lot of time and resources in designing the enclosure in a way that it supports accurate air quality measurements, e.g. with a certain design of the airflow and vents. We want to be able to deliver the same quality and accuracy of measurements than comparable air quality monitors in the market -but with an open-source, open-hardware and open-data approach.

High Quality Firmware for Experienced Developers

Besides the simple Arduino based firmware, we believe it is also important to offer a professional open-source firmware that covers all features of the sensors and runs very stable. We are currently in the process to adapt our closed source firmware so that it can be used as a base for the open-source version.

Supporting Air Quality Communication with Open Data and Map Application

We believe in open data and share our public air quality data with openAQ. We have an open-source map application and want to use this to give attribution to the NGOs that deploy air quality monitors on the ground. We do also want to implement cutting-edge research in connection with air quality forecasting and monitor calibration.

Licensing

We chose CC-BY-SA for all our open-hardware and open-source designs. You can read more about it in our Thoughts on Licensing

We Want Your Help

So far we have developed most of the open-source code ourselves but some of the code base needs major improvement, and we also would like to add new features and exciting features. We therefore welcome developers who share our vision to participate in this development. We are currently setting up the tools and systems for easier collaboration. Please reach out to us if you are interested in collaborating.

This is an Ad for our Own Product

AirGradient DIY Air Quality Kits

Build your own open source air quality sensor measuring PM2.5, CO2, TVOC, Temperature and Humidity. Easy to build, accurate and affordable!

Learn More