“TZOA is a pioneer device in environmental monitoring,” said a statement from the TZOA team. TZOA counts particles at PM2.5 and PM10 levels, which are shown along with the density to give an overall guide to the surrounding air quality. “We designed a wearable device and app that could enable people to see their environment in a new way and treat the air as a more precious resource. A group of Canadian designers has created a wearable device that monitors environmental data including air quality and UV radiation, and presents the metrics via an app. Particulate matter in the air includes both solids and liquid droplets. “The language of preciousness was also a perfect way to create an object that feels like jewellery or a fashion accessory that you’re proud to wear,” Mehin added. “Traditionally, air pollution and UV radiation are measured by expensive and complex instrumentation, making it almost impossible to personally monitor the levels of air-pollution and radiation that people are exposed to on a daily basis,” said the team. A bright light source inside s mall chamber within the device helps the custom-built sensor identify each particle. If levels of any tracked metric spike, the app sends a notification to the user’s phone to alert them. Designed by Vancouver-based Woke Studios, the small clip-on TZOA device features an optical particle counter that relays data to a smartphone or tablet so the user can see how clean or dirty the air around them is. This collected data is used to build crowdsourced city-wide maps so users can track worst-affected areas on the app and steer clear if they wish. “The challenge was to make a very immaterial thing like air feel more tangible and engaging, interesting and approachable to consumers,” said Woke Studios founder Afshin Mehin. Those less than 10 micrometers – smaller than the diameter of a human hair – are known as “coarse particles” (PM10) and are commonly mixed into the air during construction work or vehicles kicking up dust.