X-Pollen: A portable pollen tracking system

By Wendy Fang
Senior Category (Grades 11-12)
Innovation | Biology

The required ethics forms have been submitted for this project.

More than one in six Canadians suffer from seasonal allergies. Pollen reports provide important aid for allergy-sufferers during the long months of allergy season. Even though there are general pollen count reports available online, each street or park does not necessarily have an identical concentration. Real-time individual pollen reports can become key indicators used by individuals to make informed decisions during peak periods of the allergy season, knowing with a high degree of certainty whether or not the pollen counts are high or low in a given area.

The focus of this experiment is to design and create an automated and easy to operate prototype that provides real-time pollen concentration estimates. The system, X-Pollen, consists of a wearable device connected to a smartphone through wireless connection. Individuals can receive their personal report by simply directing the device at the air around them. The system is then designed to send automatically the raw data collected to the smartphone. The unprocessed data is then uploaded to the online software where the pollen concentration is calculated and sent back to the user. The system is inexpensive to develop, customizable, portable, and efficient.

The instrument has the potential to warn allergy-sufferers of incoming hazards in a quick and efficient manner. Those possessing the technology will be continuously updated about the concentrations around them. Users will be aware of the conditions they are in and will be undergoing.

In addition to testing out pollen concentrations, X-Pollen can also be modified to calculate mold particle counts. The next step is to adjust the online software to be able to test for mold spores too. The device will then be able to aid even more individuals!

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