Aiming to alert Israelis as to whether the air they are breathing is suitable for engaging in sports and other activities, a new free Android app is providing location-based air pollution levels through a real-time platform.
The newly released app, BreezoMeter, accesses data in real-time from 300 air pollution monitoring stations around the country and uses an algorithm to calculate the user's air pollution level at any given location. BreezoMeter was founded by three Technion graduates: environmental engineers
"Our goal for BreezoMeter is that people will check their air quality as they check the weather," said Lautman, who along with Korber is also a graduate of the accelerator program at SifTech: Jerusalem Entrepreneurship Center.
The director of the SifTech center estimated that for every dollar invested in the project would yield about
"Around the world, there are thousands of monitoring stations that measure air pollution in more than 90 countries – including the US, European nations,
While they have started with just
"I have to say that we see a wake-up call in the field," he said.
On Wednesday morning, based on this writer's location in Rehovot, the app's circular, green-to-yellow-to-orange-to-red air pollution indicator loop revealed – by means of a pointer in the shape of an elephant trunk – that air pollution levels were a barely green score of 62. The possible scores around the loop ranged from a positive rating of 100 down to -400, coinciding with government's official air pollution index figures.
Below these results also feature a map, painted in the color corresponding to the air pollution levels.
In addition to providing the real-time pollution score, the app instructs the user as to what physical activities are suitable in their current environment.
While athletics were permitted at this writer's borderline results of 62, the app suggested monitoring changes, as people breathe more air when they engage in sports. The app also indicated that the user could "go outside and enjoy, but because the air quality is decreasing, it is worthwhile to pay attention in the coming hours to changes in air quality."
Although the app identifies air pollution based on the user's GPS location, the user can also specify a different location.
"It was very important for us to be consistent and follow each country's regulations," Lautman added.
In order to pinpoint where an air pollution level falls along the 100 to -400 scale in
"Then they determine the air quality by the worst pollutant," Lautman said.
The BreezoMeter team is currently in the process of developing forecast models, so that users will also be able to get a better idea of what their air pollution levels will be later, Lautman added.
Acknowledging that the app is still only in Beta form, Lautman said that he and his colleagues have been addressing certain complaints – such as the app remaining running on certain Androids – and hope to release their next version by the end of the week. Although the app is currently only available in Hebrew, he confirmed that an English version will also be released shortly.
As for now, however, Lautman said he is pleased with the interest the app has accrued. Google reports thus far have indicated that total downloads thus far are somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000, he added.
While this app is free of charge and will remain free, Lautman said that he and his colleagues are developing an air pollution-monitoring platform to sell to the makers of wearable smart devices. In addition, they are developing a purchasable real estate report, which aims to provide homebuyers with the air pollution history and current status of their future property, he said.
Clicking on the BreezoMeter app, the user is greeted with a bright and friendly icon, which features the very same elephant whose trunk points out the user's air pollution level.
"Basically let's tell the truth – air pollution is not fun," he said. "So we are trying to make it as fun as possible, and not scary."
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