In response to the lockdown restrictions of the COVID-19 outbreak, Dyson equipped nine individuals in eight cities around the world with its air quality backpack to understand lockdown’s impact on individual exposure to air pollution. Participants included London’s A&E and TV Doctor Alex George, Singapore Technology Journalist Bobby Tonelli, and Toronto’s Nike Master Trainer Jennifer Lau.
Re-working existing technology used in Dyson air purifiers, the air quality backpack is a portable air-sensing device. Armed with on-board sensors, a battery pack and GPS, it is able to measure air pollution data on the move. Individuals wore the air quality backpack during their sanctioned essential journeys during the lockdown period between April and June, whether that be visiting the grocery store, an essential commute to work or daily exercise routes. These journeys were then revisited by participants once the cities reopened, allowing for the comparison of pollution exposure levels between the lockdown and post-lockdown period.
This outdoor data was analysed alongside outdoor air quality sensor networks, and Dyson’s vast database of anonymised indoor purifier data. Dyson engineers examined anonymous data from over 38,000 Dyson purifiers from around the world, helping to build a picture of the overall impact of lockdown on air quality both indoors and outdoors.