You don’t have to suffer from a respiratory condition to care about the quality of the air you breathe, and the wearable Atmotube Pro makes it easy to instantly know if the air quality in- or outdoors is unsafe. By tracking volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as well as Particulate Matter (PM) pollutants, the Atmotube Pro can help you breathe easy.
If you’re like me, you might not pay a lot of attention to the quality of the air that you’re breathing — unless it smells bad, looks bad (because it’s smoky or hazy), or it’s making you sneeze or cough. But poor air quality isn’t always so easily noticed, and it’s important to know the quality of the air we’re breathing because there can be health consequences to prolonged exposure to poor quality air. For instance, the carpet and furniture in your home office can be releasing VOCs. “These gases can have adverse short and long-term health effects on our respiratory systems. Over time, exposure to VOCs has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, liver and brain damage, and even cancer.” Particulate matter “is a mixture of tiny particles and droplets made up of dirt, dust, soot, smoke, and liquid compounds that pollute the air.” The ingredients of the particulate matter you’re breathing in can be made up of various things depending upon the season (for instance, wood smoke might be a more common pollutant in the winter), but the main thing to note is that if you are inhaling it in high enough concentrations, it can harm your lungs — especially if you suffer from asthma or lung disease. “Particulate matter can even cause heart attacks, lung cancer, and low birth weight in babies. Exposure to this type of air pollution often leads to eye and throat irritation. Particle matter typically consists of nitrates, sulfates, organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles.”
Sounds fun, right? If you’d like to know more about what you’re breathing, that’s where the Atmotube Pro comes in.
In the box, you’ll get the Atmotube Pro, a small metal carabiner, a short USB Type-A to Type-C cable, and a quick start guide.
Measuring just 3.4″ long by 2″ wide by 0.9″ thick and weighing 3.7 (with its carabiner attached), the Atmotube Pro tracks VOCs, PM1 pollutants (having a diameter smaller than 1 micron), PM2.5 pollutants (fine particles), and PM10 pollutants (coarse dust particles), humidity, temperature, atmospheric pressure, and altitude. Its case is made of polycarbonate plastic and aluminum, and it has a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE 5.0) radio inside for connecting with your smartphone or tablet.
On the top of the Atmotube Pro, there is an aluminum carabiner hole. On the front, there is a small LED that will show different colors depending upon air quality. The LED will glow orange when charging and green when charged, but more importantly, it will glow blue to show good air quality, green to show moderate air quality, yellow to show polluted air quality, orange to show very polluted air quality, and red to show severely polluted air quality. You can activate the air quality LED by pressing the large round button under the LED. You’ll note that on the front and sides of the Atmotube Pro, there are holes present to receive air for quality testing.
How does the Atmotube Pro work? Inside, it has three sensors: a laser-based PM sensor, a MEMS tVOC sensor, and a combined digital sensor for humidity, temperature, and barometric pressure. A tiny fan inside the unit will take the air and push it through several chambers with sensors so a reading can be made. “Collected data are sent to your smartphone in real-time or stored in internal memory for up to 5 days if your smartphone is not around. The internal structure of Atmotube PRO is engineered in such a way that there is no maintenance required for the sensors or fan. The noise level of the fan is about 20dB (rustling leaves). The fan is ON only during the readings, e.g. in 10 min mode it will be ON for 1 minute and OFF for another 9 minutes.”
PM sensor measurement principle is based on laser scattering and makes use of innovative contamination resistance technology. This technology, together with high-quality and long-lasting components, enables accurate measurements from its ?rst operation and throughout its lifetime of more than eight years.
The functionality of our tVOC sensor is based on the conductivity-change of the gas-sensitive MOX semiconductor layers at gas exposure, which can be measured and analyzed. In order to provide accurate readings the sensor gets calibrated on the production in clean air and gases mix. Since gases act differently at different temperatures / humidity levels, we utilize our humidity & temperature sensor for compensation for tVOC measurements.
The on-device air quality notification LED is great, but when the Atmotube Pro is coupled with the Atmotube Android or iOS app, you’ll have a powerful tool that shows multiple condition readings and allows you to plan your next course of action to avoid dangerous exposure. Once you have connected the Atmotube Pro to the app, you’ll be able to access information regarding your air quality score, barometer and altimeter info, temperature and humidity, an air quality map, how you feel in the current environment, and simple steps to reduce VOC levels if you are getting a poor reading indoors.
According to Atmotube, “the device starts measuring air quality immediately but will get more accurate after the first 12 hours. Proper calibration takes time.”
One of the features in Settings that I liked was the ability to contribute to a global air quality map. You can switch that option off if you don’t want “anonymous, aggregated environmental data in the cloud to update and share a global air quality map that’s free to use,” but I figure it will be fine to contribute. When you get the Atmotube Pro, it will be set to “Always On,” since that provides an immediate reading of your current location. In that mode, you can expect to get about 1 day of battery life. If you set the Atmotube Pro to check every 5 minutes, you’ll get up to 4 days of battery life; checking every 10 minutes will get you 8 days of battery life, and checking every 15 will get you about 12 days of battery life.
I tested the Atmotube in several different scenarios around my home, inside and outside. Outside, my air quality score was as high as 95 (hey, I do live on a West Texas ranch in the middle of nowhere, so that wasn’t a big surprise). Inside, I stuck it near the stove as I was pan-frying a pork chop — it dropped to 63 — also not a huge surprise. We run air purifiers in our house and in my office, so, for the most part, our indoor air quality is pretty decent.
Obviously, you can take steps to keep the air in your home in the better quality range, but knowing what you are up against outdoors can help you make an informed decision about how much time you might spend outside on any given day and what you might be able to do while outside — all in the name of mitigating damage to your lungs.
If air quality is a concern to you, and let’s face it — it should be for all of us — you will like the way that the Atmotube Pro literally puts the power in your hand to make an informed decision about which spaces you’ll be in on any given day, and whether or not you’ll be spending much time outside. Imagine walking into a business or someone else’s home, and being able to immediately tell if being there would be unsafe? If you have a chronic lung condition or asthma, knowing these things on such a personalized scale with immediate readings might literally be the difference between a good and bad breathing day.
The Atmotube Pro will retail for $189, but you can pre-order it now for $131 here. Shipping will happen in April 2019.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Compact device that measures air quality and that is so compact it can be brought just about anywhere; Included carabiner for attaching to backpacks, etc.; Basically a portable, real-time weather station; Can work up to 12 days on a single charge; Great for helping you to make informed decisions about air quality in your area — indoors and outdoors
What Needs Improvement: Nothing — it works as advertised