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Smart Air Care (SMAC) refers to a special type of indoor air purification method used in Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Management through air quality measuring, ionizing and scenting processes. The ‘smart’ prefix means controllability by a smart device and/or sensory perception that usually decides what type of air care is needed. Air care is based on air composition examination or other factors such as economic power management. Air care or air management is considered a complex progress as its main goal is to create a beneficial atmosphere for easy breathing and positive physiological effects (work performance boost, mood lifting). Smart Air Care uses the following air management methods: ionization, purification, scenting, perfuming, UV sterilization, silver sterilization, humidification, wet&dry air filtering and Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) monitoring. Smart Air Care activities apply indoor air quality monitoring, in order to correctly define optimal air composition.
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While it is not publicly realized, most people spend 90% of their lifespan indoors. Another, less-known fact is that indoor air pollution is one of the top five most dangerous health risks known to human beings. Indoor environments are usually more polluted, than outdoor air, even in moderately polluted cities. Indoor air pollution may come from viral, antibacterial, fungal sources, but synthetic materials (for example, wall paints, furniture, carpet, plastic, heating and electronic appliances emit dangerous substances) as well. In contrast to these dangerous facts, the importance of proper air purification is only just getting more highlighted in households, offices, and all other premises where daily routines take place.
Air pollution is relatively difficult to perceive, due to its complete invisibility; therefore, the most effective way to detect indoor air contamination is the absence of the said environment. Coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, fatigue, and headaches are symptoms of indoor air contamination that may ease after the contaminated room is left. Source.
Light symptoms may often turn into serious health problems in long periods of exposure and ultimately claim numerous lives, as WHO records state. Each year more than 5 million premature deaths are accounted to just the use of solid fuels for cooking, but cooking is not the only activity that causes indoor air pollution. Some of these polluting activities are cleaning (with chemicals), use of propellants, and operation of electronic devices (computers, routers, televisions, printers, etc.).
Automation is the most fundamental feature of any smart device. Through automation many feats can be accomplished without having a strict control on the given machine. In means of Smart Air Care, automation is an intelligent perception of the relevant environment, where a sample of the air composition is taken to analysis, and through the results of the analysis a final output can be put to use. An air sample with a higher density of pollution results in a heavier need of ventilation, whereas samples with lower pollution might suffice with a lighter ventilation.
Sensors have a strong presence at places where automations operate in the background. An air sample analysis may never work without a sensory observation, because any reference data might be missing to create the right air composition.
There are two types of smart mechanisms currently popular in mainstream electronics. One of them is where two devices communicate to have the desired effect. In this case, the user interface to set preferences is separate from the main working mechanism (in which a communicating module takes place) to the user interface (which is usually a remote control, or nowadays more likely a smartphone). This is what SOL-ONE uses.
The other type of mechanism contains a user interface and every preference may be set directly from one appliance. This type, however was more popular in older designs and has been seen less and less in the smartphone era.
Connection types may vary from device to device. Some of the most common connection types are Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and in some cases, NFC or IR.
SOL-ONE uses a Bluetooth connection, because it has a definite edge against any other type of connections, due to their “back and forth” type of communication, meaning there is an actual dialogue that goes on between SOL-ONE and the smartphone.
IAQ or Indoor Air Quality measurement is the backbone of any Smart Air Care device. While it is theoretically possible to measure indoor air quality without an IAQ measurement unit, through examination and summarizing of average estimated indoor air pollution, however, a precise measurement unit may actually provide a unique output of the room’s pollution and with it a reference value to keep the room’s air composition as beneficial for breathing as possible on the lowest operation performance as possible.
There are two types of Indoor Air Quality measurement which currently exist.
Our choice in SOL-ONE was the Chemical diagnostics, because it is considered to be the more advanced type of air composite analyzation. During a chemical analyzation, special chemical compounds, indicators are working in the measurement unit, which compounds can indicate very precisely what type of contaminations are present in the current air sample through chemical interaction. Its true advantage to physical diagnostics is that it may indicate a pollutant by its name.
The other method is also worth to mention. Physical diagnostics are more common in mainstream IAQ measurement units due to their feasibility. A physical examination may produce information of the current air composite’s particle density, but may not be used to identify different particles.
Scenting is a less obvious, but sometimes more important element of air caring. Although humans have a relatively damp sense of smelling compared to certain animals, some of the most important human feelings are connected to the olfactory sense. For example, consumer marketing knows and uses this fact to increase sales.
Smart Air Care enables the use of mood altering fragrances that are very commonly used in the fragrance industry (i.e., perfumes, air fresheners). There are various beneficial effects to use scenting in Smart Air Care, though the usage of both air filtering and scenting are controversial and counterproductive. Therefore, the two of them are not applied at the same time for the better outcome.
Keeping an indoor environment healthy is the primary goal of SOL-ONE (and any other air care devices) and to keep a device and its environment pathogen-free, most Smart Air Care devices use at least some sterilization. Basic sterilizers in an air care appliance are UVGI sterilization, silver sterilization and water additives that pose no threat to humans through breathing, but will eliminate disease spreading organisms. SOL-ONE’s wet&dry filter also contains a silver patch to keep its water bowl sterile.
Viruses, bacteria, and molds are not the most frequent cause of indoor air symptoms, but they are still among the top five threats.
Ionizers are the most fundamental parts of SOL-ONE and of air filtering in general; however, only a few companies use ionization due to its feasibility. Ionizers produce electrically charged particles that clears volatile chemical compounds out of the air, though not completely eliminating them, and instead “sticking” them to other surfaces like walls and furniture. Therefore, ionization is only efficient with filtering (i.e., water filtering, HEPA, or, in our case, wet&dry filtering.)
Ionization takes up a large part of research activities in air quality management.
The adverse health effects of indoor air pollution are considerable on the human respiratory system, but due to its invisibility it is often overlooked and the slowly damaging effects of indoor air pollution is generally believed normal. Smart Air Care aims to take steps towards eliminating such factors.
A properly air managed room has dozens of positive health effects. Some of these effects are attributed to negative ions, but clean air breathed through pollution filtering is also an important factor when it comes to defining what the right environment is for humans and other mammals.
Some of the health benefits are increased oxygenation of the lungs, increased vital capacity, enhanced celiac activity, reduction of stress, synchronization of the right and the left brain hemispheres, balance of personality, better thinking ability and increased endurance and work capacity.
Opposite to the positive health benefits, the lack of proper air care cause serotonin hyperfunction syndrome, aka “irritation syndrome”, stress, fatigue, spontaneous anger, clumsiness, weakness, anxiety, and generally a less fortified immune system.
Psychic mood may increase during a clean air breathing experience, which is sometimes referred to as ‘mood lifting’ in some marketing-oriented literature. The mood changing effects are indeed very real in the face of common skepticism.
Some of the more popular scents attributed to work performance increase are lemon, lavender, jasmine, rosemary, cinnamon, and peppermint, as they have calming and mind-clearing effects that help in concentration and broaden energy flow in the brain.
AIRLOG (Integrated platform for intelligent indoor air quality audit management) project research indicates an average of 48% increase in work performance in offices with Smart Air Care than those offices with no air care at all.