Birdi Will Warn You When You’re Breathing Nasty Air

Although the Chinese government believes that smog “unifies people, makes China more equal, and makes people funnier,” we all know it also can kill you. That’s why Birdi is so interesting. It’s a dedicated air quality sensor that hides out on your wall, looking to all the world like a simple smoke detector. However, instead of telling you about something is imminently killing you, it tells you about the smog that is slowly killing you.

The team is asking for $99 for the early bird Birdi. They are working closely with PCH International’s Highway 1 incubator, a hardware-only accelerator based in San Francisco and led by Brady Forrest. This is one of the first companies to launch out of the group.


Birdi can sense multiple environmental factors including temperature, CO2 level, carbon monoxide levels, as well as standard smoke. It also senses humidity and particle density, which is important in smoggy locales. It will notify you when it’s out of power and all of the sensors connect to your phone via a contract-free web service. This means when the Birdi senses a problem you get a notification on your iOS or Android phone and you can track statistics over time.

The group has hit $10,000 in pledges out of a $50,000 goal. It’s led by Mark Belinsky and Justin Alvey and is based in New York. They write:

Indoor air quality is 2-8x worse than outdoor. What’s the pollution like in your home right now? Most of us have no idea. Yet we’re seeing asthma rates continue to rise and bad air is now determined to be a leading cause of cancer. Birdi is the only device that both tracks emergencies and gives you tips about how to improve the air for your family and friends.

I’ve been seeing more and more of these standalone air quality sensors and it’s quite interesting. Because smog is a problem even in areas where there is little visible evidence of heavy pollution – and especially considering the conditions in Shanghai and Beijing, it makes a lot of sense to start thinking about air quality as a worldwide problem. Hopefully the Birdi can save us before we cough our way to an early grave.