INNOVATION: Another significat contribution to the public domain

Low-cost device can measure air pollution anywhere

  • Open-source tool from MIT’s Senseable City Lab lets people check air quality, cheaply.

Peter Dizikes | MIT News Office
Publication Date: March 16, 2023 

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Air pollution is a major public health problem: The World Health Organization has estimated that it leads to over 4 million premature deaths worldwide annually. Still, it is not always extensively measured. But now an MIT research team is rolling out an open-source version of a low-cost, mobile pollution detector that could enable people to track air quality more widely.

The detector, called Flatburn, can be made by 3D printing or by ordering inexpensive parts. The researchers have now tested and calibrated it in relation to existing state-of-the-art machines, and are publicly releasing all the information about it — how to build it, use it, and interpret the data.

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“We” should have an award for people who make a discovery and make it free to use because of its great benefit.

It should be named for Frederick Banting (note below) for insulin or Volvo for the three point seat belt.

Maybe Volvo would sponsor it.

I’d nominate these folks from MIT for this invention and releasing it to the public domain.

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Note: When inventor Frederick Banting discovered insulin in 1923, he refused to put his name on the patent. He felt it was unethical for a doctor to profit from a discovery that would save lives. Banting’s co-inventors, James Collip and Charles Best, sold the insulin patent to the University of Toronto for a mere $1.


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