How To

Expanding on an idea – Airthings: metrics the smell

So today we’re going to look at a project I’ve been working on on stopping an unintentionally smelly co-worker. Like the head to head vacuuming robots, I’m working at taking some of this consumer tech we’ve reviewed into the office and repurposing for out in the world and business needs.

In this highly anonymized story, because y’all know where I work, we’re going to talk about a tenant that works around chemicals and after a while loses the ability to smell them. Not a guy who microwaves fish, although this would work for that as well.

I was contacted recently about a new product called the Airthings View Pollution, which we’re not going to review because it’s the same idea as the View Plus minus a couple of sensors. They make great stuff, check them out, they’re pretty useful devices and I’m going to be doing a re-review of the Plus at some point shortly as I’ve discovered fun things about my house’s air.

Also due to a mixup I now have two View Pluses and yeah. Work gets one donated so I don’t have to explain for the 50th time my nose is still recovering and I can no longer smell acetone from the parking lot.

A couple of months ago I was asked to sniff around and find a smell. It was located and the person producing it was quite unaware they were producing it. Once exposed to this chemical smell long enough, you just don’t smell it any more. Imagine the Yankee Candle effect.

There exist equipment that removes the smell, but it is fairly loud, has to be positioned by the entrance to their space. Needs to be triggered when it’s happening, and that was at random times in the process.

I slapped the Airthings View Plus outside the office. I now get a notification when the smell (VOC/PM2.5) rises, I inform the person, and they crank on the air cleaning equipment before they become known as the smelly guy.

In this use case we’ve got everyone on the same page, but in an adversarial situation with someone who’s unable to smell anything, or a coworker who’s nothing but mobile cans of Axe Body Spray stuffed into a suit, you can literally metric what the situation is at your desk rather than hoping your HR/boss/anyone has a working sense of smell post-COVID.

Something to consider as you can straight up point to numbers for smells rather than subjectively judge the odor. Now, figuring out what those are in terms of negative effects, that’s a bit different as you can have very high VOC/PM2.5 and little smell, but usually, at least in what I’m seeing, they tend to be indicative of smell strength.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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