Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Butterfly Air

A butterfly-inspired breakthrough in indoor air quality monitoring

Property & Construction

The sensor uses colour to show changes in air quality so that building owners can take action

Spotted: Butterflies are an indicator species due to their rapid and sensitive responses to subtle habitat or climatic changes. This means that their presence or absence in a habitat is a sign of environmental change. Butterfly Air was inspired by the insects to develop an Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) monitoring system.

Butterfly’s IAQ system contains a sensing chamber, dubbed LaminAIR, which controls the sample airflow to ensure the devices consistently update key measurements to meet the latest international WELL V2 standards for building air safety. The sensors measure levels of different particulate matter, including levels of PM1, PM2.5, and PM10.

The real innovation, however, is that the device is shaped like a butterfly and the wings and e-ink display on the antenna are engineered to glow when users wave at the device, allowing them to see at a glance if the air quality has changed. The colours of the display are designed to be easy to read: blue indicates good air quality, green indicates moderate air quality, and amber indicates that attention is required.

Butterfly Air initially launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funding, although this was eventually cancelled. However, the Butterfly sensor has been patented in the UK and abroad and the company is actively entering overseas markets, where there is a lot of interest in health, sustainability, and energy cost saving.

As awareness of indoor and outdoor air pollution increases, so does the drive to improve air quality for everyone. Springwise has also spotted a social movement promoting clean air and community-owned networks of air quality sensors.

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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