(KUTV) -- Engineers from the University of Utah’s School of Computing conducted a study to determine if homeowners change the way they live if they could visualize the air quality in their house. It turns out, their behavior changes a lot, a press release said.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies, derived from a series of portable air quality monitors with Wi-Fi and connected them to a university server. Three sensors were placed in six Salt Lake and Utah County homes from four to 11 months in 2017 and 2018. Two were placed in different, high-traffic areas of the house. Each minute, each sensor automatically measured the air for PM 2.5 (a measurement of tiny particles or droplets in the air that are 2.5 microns or less in width) and sent the data to the server.
The homeowner could view the data on an Amazon tablet that displayed the air pollution measurements in each room over a 24-hour period. Participants in the study could see up to 30 days of air pollution data. The monitoring by homeowners invoked different decisions to minimize poor air quality, such as one homeowner choosing not to cook with olive oil after discovering the air pollution in her home spiked when she cooked with it.
Another homeowner would vacuum and clean the house just before a friend with allergies dropped by to try and clean the air of dust. But what she found out through the MAAV system is that she actually made the air much worse because she kicked up more pollutants with her vacuuming and dusting, a press release said. Realizing this, she started cleaning the house much earlier before the friend would visit, the release stated.
“The idea behind this study was to help people understand something about this invisible air quality in their home,” says University of Utah School of Computing assistant professor Jason Wiese, who was a lead author of the paper along with U School of Computing doctoral student Jimmy Moore and School of Computing associate professor Miriah Meyer.
Wiese says no known manufacturers make air quality systems for the home that allow residents to visualize and label the air quality in this way, but he hopes their research can spur more innovation.
The paper also is being presented Oct. 9 in Singapore during the “ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing.”
The entire paper can be read by clicking below: