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PVHS Pioneers Purple Air Sensors
Posted On:
Saturday, February 10, 2018

In a partnership with the SBAPCD and the SCAQMD, Riccardo Magni is the pioneer teacher in California to have Purple Air sensors not only deployed at his school, but also at his students’ homes - one from SMHS and four students from the current AP Environmental Science class.  The sensors measure particulate pollution.  Particulates are inhaled and can do anything from cause a person to have bronchitis, cause an asthma attack, and unfortunately give a person a heart attack.  Furthermore, new research is showing that particulate pollution can even cause pregnant mother to give birth early or have babies with a low birth weight.

The sensor works as an optical detector; it has 2 lasers that are aimed at a microchip.  The microchip knows how much laser is supposed to arrive, but a small percentage of the laser light is reflected and/or absorbed by the particulate pollution.  Even though the pollution is microscopic, the instrumentation is fine enough to detect these minute changes and record them.  The data is put into a computer algorithm to convert it to AQ and then the number goes on to the internet in real time.

Now through a grant from the SBCEO, Magni is working to spread his knowledge of the Purple Air sensors to other teachers, so their schools can have sensors and their students can learn about their own local air pollution.  Magni recently spoke to the SBC Board of Supervisors on January 18, 2018 about the project in order to educate them on what the SBAPCD is doing in terms of educating the youth on air pollution related science and technology.

Purple Air Data


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