COVID-19 quickly became a worldwide pandemic because of the virus's ability to easily spread from person to person : when people infected with COVID-19 talk, sing, or just simply breathe, the aerosols in their exhaled breath carry the virus. If other people inhale these aerosols in a sufficiently high dose, they may become infected.
To reduce the risk of infection, it is important to keep the indoor concentration of exhaled breath as low as possible. This means: rooms need to be ventilated whenever the concentration of exhaled air increases significantly and to ventilate them correctly.
The challenge is: how to determine when and for how long to ventilate a room? This is exactly where air quality sensors, such as the BME680 sensor, come into the picture.
The BME680 sensor has been developed to detect exhaled human breath. It measures the concentration of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and outputs an index of air quality (IAQ).
Bosch Sensortec utilized a so-called "breath-VOC" (b-VOC) mixture to qualify the performance of the BME680 in comprehensive laboratory tests. This b-VOC mixture contains major representative gases, which are part of everybody’s exhaled breath.
For ease of use, the software of the BME680 calculates and outputs an index for air quality.
The IAQ index colors can be used as a simple trigger mechanism to effectively regulate indoor ventilation: the room can be ventilated by opening the windows when it deviates from the green band, and they can be closed when the sensor output returns to the green band.
This reduces the risk of viral transmission, whilst improving comfort at the same time. Consequently, exhaled breath carrying the virus-containing aerosols increases the risk of infection. Because of gravity, the larger droplets contained in exhaled aerosols fall relatively quickly. However, tiny droplets and particles can remain suspended in the air for up to many hours and be widely dispersed. To reduce the risk of infection, frequent ventilation as needed is essential.
See the BME688 in action - with spexor
Would you like to have a device for measuring air quality using the BME688 sensor? Bosch offers already a versatile device. spexor cannot only detect break-ins in countless places, but now also measures the air quality in the room with help of the BME688 sensor. You can use spexor as a mobile warning device or air quality indicator – wherever you want. All spexor needs to notify you of an alarm or bad air quality is a connection to a WLAN or mobile phone network.
In the near future, spexor will be able to detect several other dangerous gases for example gases that may occurring during fire (e.g. carbon monoxide) or gases that are relevant in a camping environment.
Advantages of the BME680
It is the world’s smallest & most cost-efficient solution to measure all important parameters for indoor air quality: temperature, pressure, humidity & gas sensing elements are combined with an IC in one tiny package.
VOC sensors directly detect nearly all organic compounds. Aerosols and even viruses are in fact organic compounds.
Generally, the impact on human well-being depends on the dose and the chemical reactivity of chemical compounds. The higher the dose and/or the chemical reactivity of chemical compounds, the greater the potential impact on human health and well-being.
It is not only an improvement with respect to COVID-19. Good air quality is a general improvement for well-being and comfort in our daily life: in your home, in your office and in public buildings.