Flow. A small product with big ambition.

April 18, 2018

How to tackle air pollution in our cities and towns?

It will come as no surprise to anyone that air pollution is a prominent issue in the world today. What might be a surprise is that every day citizens are being empowered with the tools to directly tackle the issue.

With cities such as Beijing reaching record highs for air pollution and cities even closer to home in the UK recording unsafe levels of airborne particulates, it is an issue that urgently needs addressed. One group trying to do so is French company Plume labs. This Paris based company was founded in 2014 with the vision of “clean air for everyone.” They aim to do this by;

“Creating the smart tools people need to avoid air pollution and stay healthy. We bring together the most advanced hardware, big data, and artificial intelligence to make sure you have all the info you need to perfect your daily routine, explore your environment, and find clean air wherever you go.”

One way in which Plume labs have tried to tackle this problem is by creating “Flow.” Flow is a personal air quality tracking device which allows users to test the quality of the air wherever they are. This product intends to allow users the necessary information for them to make smart choices for their own personal, friends and families health. This includes warnings of poor air quality as well as suggestions of places to spend time where air quality is better, for instance recommending a walk in parks or rural areas over crowded city streets. Each flow device used also becomes part of a community where readings from each device in a certain location takes reading in order to create an air quality map. This map will then help people to find better quality air within their area.

Plume labs outsourced their design work to a consultancy in order to bring their idea to life. From a design point of view the Flow is really quite pleasant. With a sleek metallic surface and leather strap providing a sense of luxury and the air intake holes being randomly patterned across the surface to mimic the harmful particulates floating in the air, the flow provides quite an ornamental look whilst still providing the tactility that is needed of such a device. The Flow also has a very user friendly interface with one capacitive touch button used to initiate the device and an array of multicolour LED’s for visual feedback. All of this communicates with an app which can then give more in depth statistical information as well as the air quality maps and written warnings or recommendations.

Although the device might at first seem a bit of a gimmick and only for the more environmentally aware user, it is a rather eye opening product as everyone should care about their own body and the planet. After all, we only have one of each!

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