Breathe with BREATHE

Reap Benefit, which works to empower youngsters & building next-generation problem solvers, Solve Ninjas’’, has come up with A Plug & Play Air Quality station BREATHEto monitor Air Quality from anywhere. Air quality is an extremely complex problem, and it is difficult for common citizens to understand or gauge it.

Breathe can be used for both indoor and outdoor and offers data on dust level PM 2.5 and PM 10 along with humidity and temperature for air-quality. It has been designed for anyone to be a part of this Air pollution issue to solve this at the local neighborhood level. People from different places can set up the device and contribute the data to the community and help in creating a movement and tools for the necessary call to action.

The Story- Solving Local Issue through Technology :

Pallavi, a Solve Ninja associated with Reap Benefit has a member in her family suffering from acute asthma and other respiratory issues. In one of the sessions in school with Reap Benefit, she realized that poor air quality could be one of the reasons aggravating their condition. But, is there a way to measure air quality?

Much to her dismay, she couldn’t find any low-cost products that she could use to study air quality in her surroundings.

How will she solve the problem of poor air quality affecting health of so many people she knew, if she couldn’t even find a way to measure it? Fortunately, she came across one low-cost dust sensor, made by the company Sharp. She then got an idea. She could build her own Air Quality Monitor using sensors and Arduino!

Local Data : As she built it, she learnt that the PM 2.5 values she collected as readings from the sensor were the “local data”. What if she could give more meaning to the local data collected, by publishing it online and sharing it with people? Moreover, what if others could share their data and they could understand how important a role air quality plays on people and their activities?

Local Data: PM 2.5 Levels in Neighborhood (April 2018 to June 2018)

Using Nodemcu and with the help of the neighborhood dashboard devised by Reap Benefit, she was able to upload the data from the Air Quality Monitors placed in various parts of the city. She shared the neighborhood Dashboard link with her schoolmates, neighbors, and family and urged them to pay attention to things that affected the air quality: burning of garbage, aerosol propelled perfumes, room fresheners and insecticides, firecrackers, vehicle emissions, etc

Local Dashboard: Overview of Neighborhood Issues under the common roof

Features of Breathe :

  • Easy assembly and Portable: The DIY kit is designed for people of all age above 10+. You do not any additional tool to this device and can carry anywhere even on your bicycle.
  • Simple and easy to set up: We have made sure that you instantly get connected to your device. Simply log in to your Wi-fi network and register your device and start monitoring the air around you!
  • Plastic Free Casing: We used the Medium Density Fiberboard to reduce the use of Plastic for Casing.

List of components (Breathe WiFi & 3G,4G)

The device is based on DIY (Do-It-Yourself) and works with WiFi and on all networks(3G, 4G). The list of sensors installed are as under:


NodeMCU 1.0

NodeMCU, ESP8266 is a low-cost, WiFi Module chip that can be configured to connect to the Internet for the Internet of Things(IoT) and similar Technology Projects.

Temperature and Humidity Sensor:

Digital Humidity and Temperature (DHT22) sensor

The DHT22 is a basic, low-cost digital temperature and humidity sensor. It uses a capacitive humidity sensor and a thermistor to measure the surrounding air

Passive Dust sensor:

Sharp dust sensor: First Prototype which Pallavi used to find the Air Quality

Sharp’s GP2Y1010AU0F is an optical air quality sensor, designed to sense dust particles. An infrared emitting diode and a phototransistor are diagonally arranged into this device, to allow it to detect the reflected light of dust in the air. It is especially effective in detecting very fine particles like cigarette smoke and is commonly used in air purifier systems.

Active Dust Sensor:

Current Prototype: With Honeywell Dust sensor

This dust sensor HPMA115S0-XXX series is a very stable sensor that offers an accurate reading on air quality. It uses the laser scattering principle to detect the dust particles in the air, with good selectivity and stability.

Casing: The design of the casing is simple yet beautiful & sustainable. Breathe can become a part of the family of antiques or gadgets you have in your house and it is catchy.

Breathe in action from an Outdoor area in a School with Passive dust sensor along with temperature & humidity measurements
Breathe in action from an Indoor area in Reap Benefit with Active dust sensor measuring PM 2.5 & PM 10 levels

Why D-I-Y?

(C) DIY breathe

We put efforts into things which we care for! We care for our selves and to a larger community and so we do our best to keep them as we care for them. We made Breathe as a DIY kit because we understand the feeling of building something for everyone. We want you to experience the same feeling of applied empathy and protection towards your community for Goodwill.

Our findings so far (Applicable across Pan India too):

  1. The air quality in Bangalore Urban is worst between 5:30 AM and 7.45 AM and late in the evening between 6:45 PM- 8:15 PM

2. The best time to step out for is 12.00 and 3.00 PM.

3. Rain helps to improve Air quality during the course of the day to a large extent.

4. Air quality is worse during the end (28th-31st) of every month.

5. Friday evening (post 7 PM) to Sunday morning (8 AM) — air quality hits the peak due to more vehicle movement in and around the city.

6. Even a bit of Garbage dump increases Air pollution and causes breathing trouble to students of age group 7–15 years & elderly people.

7. Best time for exercise and outdoor activities: Early morning 4:00 AM- 5:15 AM and evening 3:45 PM to 6:00 PM

Some Citizen Actions:

Taanika, is doing her research on Plant Based optimizer to Reduce Air Pollution in her neighborhood.She donated Air purifying plants in her community and succedded to neutralize the air pollution to certain extent.She read about certain air-purifying plants like aloe-vera plant, syngonium and mother-in-law’s tongue plant. She grew a potted Syngonium plant at her home and used Breathe Air Quality Monitor to see if the air quality actually improved. It did! Even more, her living room now is brighter, smells fresher and has positive vibes. She shared her idea and success story on the Solve Ninja App and urged others in her apartment to grow air-purifying indoor plants. Additionally, she now has data to prove the positive effects of growing such plants indoor.

Amogh working to Map that helps to easily fix all Garbage Black spots which causes Asthma problems.

With Reap Benefit Neighbourhood dashboard we can find Air pollution data easily & solve the issue at Local level with Local Governance.

Many more ideas & solutions like Knowing your Breathing Levels with Lung Capacity Check, Vehicle Emission Testing, Vehicle Air Scrubber etc.

These actions taken by our Solve Ninjas reflect on the various possibilities of using Breathe to solve local problems related to air pollution. We now have, Local Solution(AQM- Breathe), Local Data(Dashboard) and Local Community(we people) to mitigate the Air Pollution problem. Let us together solve the issue at the community level.

Together We can build…

  1. High-density air quality monitoring system: Install Breathe, across anywhere[ specifically Air polluted areas]covering an area of 10–20 in each ward; provide real-time air quality data for citizens and Government. The Air Quality data can be viewed on the Dashboard provided by Reap Benefit.
  2. Open Source: Make open source air quality monitoring collection and analysis to make policy changes at Ground level. This DIY Product will be easy for anyone to replicate and install in their community.
  3. Make a Movement: Develop the whole solution with citizens and build an army of young problem solvers to solve the issue.

Do join us to Take Action to Breathe Clean & Good Air..

We hope you take forward one simple tool such as our Breathe Air Quality Monitor and use it to solve your local neighbourhood issues. And when you do, don’t forget to share with us your journey of becoming a Solve Ninja!

Do Stay connected through our public problem-solving app, Solve Ninja App by Reporting an issue or kick start Campaigns to bring the community together or share simple ideas and solutions.



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Engineer| Straightforward | Fun loving, Foodie | Sudoku solver | Loves Music/ Ocean/ Books ;-)