Plume Labs wants to be the definitive startup when it comes to air pollution. The company has built an app, an API and now an air quality tracker. The Flow is a tiny Bluetooth device you pair with your smartphone to learn more about the air you’re currently breathing.
It works both inside and outside and could be particularly useful if you live in a polluted city. It tracks particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide, ozone, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), temperature and humidity. You can clip it to your bag, bike or stroller. It has a tiny leather strap and looks nice.
There are 12 colored LEDs so that you can get a basic reading of your exposure to pollution over the past twelve hours. If you get multiple red LEDs, it means that you’ve been walking around polluted areas. Your phone will give your more information about your day and your city.
I already covered the Flow back at CES in January 2017. But the company didn’t say much about price and availability. The device is now available for pre-orders. It costs $139 for now and it’s going to end up costing $199 after the release. The company plans to ship the device in June 2018.
And it’s a volume play. In many ways, the Flow reminds me of Netatmo weather stations. Those devices have been a huge success because the company sold a huge number of weather stations. This way, Netatmo has built a dense map of weather stations with a ton of data points. It’s a great way to crowdsource weather maps.
I hope many people living in polluted cities will end up using the Flow. It could be a great way to figure out trends, polluted areas and possible changes to improve air quality.
Beta testers have been using the Flow in London already. With just a hundred users, the company was able to sample 500,000 data points across 1,300 miles of sidewalks.
Even without this big data aspect, the Flow can help you change your daily routine. Maybe you can avoid going for a run when it’s so polluted outside and wait until tomorrow morning.