Airborne particulate matter has been shown to be associated with morbidity and mortality, and may interfere with certain sensitive experiment. Understanding the levels and movements of particulate matter in an enclosed space can lead to a reduction in the impact of this material on health and experimental results. A system of environmental sensors including particulate matter, selected gasses, humidity, temperature, and pressure can be used to assist in tracking air movement, providing real-time mapping of potential contaminants as they move through a space. In this paper we present a system that is capable of sensing these environmental factors, collecting data from multiple dispersed nodes and presenting the aggregated information in real-time. The highly modular system is based on a flexible and scalable framework developed for use in aircraft cabin environments. Use of this framework enables the deployment of a custom suite of sensors with minimal development effort. Individual nodes communicate using a self-organizing mesh network and can be powered from a variety of sources, bringing a high level of flexibility in the arrangement and distribution of the sensor array. Sensor data is transmitted to a coordinator node, which then passes the time-correlated information to a server-hosted database through a choice of wired or wireless networks. Presentation software is used to either monitor the real-time data stream, or to extract records of interest from the database. A reference implementation has been created for the National Institutes of Health consisting of a custom optical particle counter and off-the-shelf sensors for CO2, CO, temperature, humidity, pressure, and acoustic noise. The total environmental sensing system provides continuous, real-time data in a readable format that can be used to analyze ambient air for events of interest.
This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. The final, definitive version of this document can be found online at 42nd International Conference on Environmental Systems, published by American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Copyright restrictions may apply. DOI: 10.2514/6.2012-3441.