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Mindful Droid: Vlog 1 - The Story So Far

The Mindful Droid is an open-source IOT modular child friendly Air Quality sensor device, that allows users to make, monitor, collect data on indoor and outdoor air pollution levels, giving access to users to make informed healthy decisions and actions on air quality

Air pollution is a pressing global issue that poses a significant threat to public health. In the UK alone, it is responsible for approximately 40,000 deaths annually. Figures of childhood asthma are on the increase, and respiratory disease contributes to 7 million deaths a year worldwide according to WHO.

The devastating story of Ella Kissi Debrah, a young girl whose life was tragically cut short due to high levels of air pollution-induced asthma, has shed light on the gravity of this problem. As the 10 year anniversary of her passing was recently commemorated, it serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need to address air pollution.

This project was born in response to COP26, the need to create a groundbreaking solution that can help us tackle this invisible threat - air pollution. A survey I conducted in 2022 among parents unveiled a significant lack of awareness about air pollution.

"Not content to sit back, I recognised I was best placed to engineer change and take action, alongside my day job."

The Mindful Droid project highlights the detrimental effects of air pollution on human health and the ecosystem by educating individuals about the importance of clean air and the consequences of neglecting environmental well-being. This open-source project does this through actively engaging people in monitoring air quality, empowering them to gather data on air quality in their surroundings and bringing awareness through data, which years ago would only have been available to academics or corporations. This heightened awareness prompts individuals to reconsider their daily actions and lifestyle choices, leading to more environmentally conscious decisions - and potentially a citizen science movement in their neighbourhood.

Michael working on the Mindful Droid

With the Mindful Droid, children and adults are able to design, programme, inform and engage around the topics and science of air quality. This way they take action against air pollution in a fun and creative passive activist way, through the output of the Mindful Droid pixel art display and onboard CO2 and NO2 sensors. It will initially be focused on Primary School children, specifically in years 3 to 6 (ages 7 to 11) who will also have their parents and teachers work closely on it. The aim is that it will then be adopted by school children of all ages further down the line.

This project aligns with DesignSpark Activist Engineering principles in its intent to create a positive impact on people around the world in working towards raising more awareness and action on air quality. Success for the Mindful Droid project would look like a community and global adoption of the Mindful Droid, using its data-driven results to prevent/reduce incidents like that of Ella Kissi from repeating themselves. This will be achieved by starting with 1 school - but with the plan to expand to 2 or 3 more and build a clearer case for clean air.

As the Mindful Droid project progresses, I plan to document its development and impact, sharing the stories of individuals whose lives have been transformed by the device. By showcasing real-life experiences and success stories, I hope to inspire others to join the movement and ignite a wave of positive change.

Stay tuned, follow my journey and witness the transformative impact of the Mindful Droid on individuals, communities, and the fight against air pollution. Together, we can breathe easy and build a brighter future.

Follow Michaels's weekly progress in developing the Mindful Droid.

Michael is an Industrial Design Engineer, Maker and winner of the Young Innovators Award 2021, with over 9 years experience working in various industry sectors. Having a problem solving background, he is always enthusiastic about finding solutions to problems that challenge everyday living. His key focus points are inclusivity, functionality with consciousness, and sustainability.