Gas sensing platform from imec builds 'intuitive internet-of-things' applications

June 23, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Belgian research centre Imec and the associated Holst Centre have developed a small NO2 sensor featuring a low power consumption in the mW range. The small, low power NO2 sensors nodes are being tested real-life for air quality monitoring

The sensors have a low detection limit for nitrogen dioxide (NO 2)(<10 ppb) and a fast response time. They are particularly well suited for air quality monitoring and serve as a solution to the increased demand for accurate local air quality monitoring for indoor and outdoor environments. The sensors are being tested in real-life situations, as part of an environmental monitoring platform.

Imec comments that while wearable technology that measures body parameters has become increasingly popular in recent years, the concept that imec terms Intuitive Internet of Things (I ²oT) is next on the horizon: connecting everybody and everything everywhere with data stored in the cloud, turning the massive amount of data in information to make the right decisions, to take the right actions exactly as we need or want. The I ²oT, imec says, is expected to manage the sustainability, complexity and safety of our world. It will increase our comfort and wellbeing in many ways.

Health issues resulting from poor air quality are a growing concern for consumers and accurate monitoring is becoming more and more in demand, for both outdoor and indoor environments.

Air quality is typically measured on just a few distinct locations per city, with specialised equipment. Many current gas sensors are large in size, have high power consumption and are too cost prohibitive to be implemented on a large scale for I ²oT applications. Imec and Holst Centre have developed small, simple, low power and high quality autonomous sensors that wirelessly communicate with the environment and the cloud.

Imec and Holst Centre’s NO 2 sensors were integrated in the Aireas air quality network, a multiple sensor network in the city center of Eindhoven (the Netherlands). The purpose was to test – in actual outdoor conditions and over long term – the stability of the sensors, and benchmark them against established reference sensors. The sensors have been operational since early May