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Environmental Sensor Developer Reveals Collaborations

Industrial air pollution

(National Park Service, Wikimedia Commons)

30 June 2015. Aclima Inc., a designer of environmental monitoring sensors and networks, unveiled today collaborations with Google Inc., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, among others. The San Francisco company, operating with little publicity for long as 5 years, did not disclose financial details from any of these partnerships.

Aclima Inc. develops sensor-based systems for measuring health and environmental air quality. The systems are designed to capture data from large numbers of air quality sensors inside buildings or for fine-grained local conditions in cities or regions. In addition, says Aclima, sensors can be deployed on vehicles running regular routes, such as buses or delivery vans, to capture air quality data in snapshots at various times of the day. The company then integrates the data collected in a cloud-based platform, with big-data analytical tools for users in business, public health, traffic management, and urban planning.

The collaboration with Google, operating for “several years,” according to an Aclima statement, monitors indoor air quality at 21 Google offices worldwide. Aclima says some 500 devices currently track temperature, humidity, noise, and light, as well as carbon dioxide and particulate matter in the office air, to help make decisions on workplace design for employee health and productivity.

Aclima is also partnering with EPA and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab on design of a miniaturized sensor to measure particulate matter in the air, of special concern for people with asthma and other respiratory problems. The sensors produced by the project, which includes participants at University of California in Berkeley and University of Illinois in Chicago, are expected to be small and inexpensive so they can be deployed in large numbers to capture outdoor air quality data.

A preview of the device can be found in an October 2013 paper published in the journal Sensors and Actuators A: Physical that outlines design of a sensor to measure airborne particulate matter. The paper, which says representatives from Aclima Inc. made contributions, has a micro electro mechanical system (MEMS) circuit that combines air and microfluidic components, which the authors — including those from EPA and Berkeley Lab — demonstrated with diesel exhaust and tobacco smoke.

In addition, EPA and Aclima in April 2013 entered into a 5-year research and development agreement to develop and integrate low-cost sensors into systems and networks deployed indoors and outdoors at stationary sites, and on mobile platforms. The sensors aim to detect the chemical composition of pollutants, including black carbon and particulate matter.

“Aclima has spent years in stealth creating a complete system to map environmental quality in an entirely new way,” says CEO Davida Herzyl in a company statement, “enabling us to see how our buildings, communities, and cities live and breathe.” According to Herzyl’s LinkedIn page, she co-founded the company in 2010.

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