Team Leader :
Team Members

Over the past several decades, we have seen a growing number of environmental issues, such as carbon emissions, that have drastically increased in recent years. Despite the many technological advances that have been developed over the past few years, carbon emissions continue to increase and contribute to climate change. Carbon neutrality is the ratio between carbon dioxide that is produced and the carbon dioxide that is removed from the atmosphere. This leads to the challenge of how to design a system that will not only measure what the current threshold is as well as adapting to an increase in both the production and reduction of carbon. We propose the Finding the Balance device: a carbon emission sensor that can continuously monitor carbon neutrality in both indoor and outdoor settings with the ability to be interchanged between locations.

The device consists of three simple components; an Adafruit CO2 sensor, a Raspberry pi 4, and LoRa Module, of which will make it feasible for mass production. The only complication that occurs in the mass production process is the current and ongoing integrated circuit chip shortage. However, other than that, there will be no complication in the ability to mass-produce our product. It is not overly complex and can be easily understood by consumers and individuals, let alone big companies or corporations that have the desire to make a change in our current climate and environmental status.

The Finding the Balance device uses a combination of commercial components and custom-designed components which allow modality and can easily be interchangeable allowing the device to be constantly improved. The functionality of the device can be broken down into four main steps. Using the Adafruit 4867, we are able to measure the carbon dioxide and oxygen in the atmosphere at the time of the measurement. This is then communicated into the Raspberry Pi 4, which will take the incremental data of the measured carbon dioxide and oxygen and determine where the data falls over time. The Raspberry Pi will then compare each ratio of the carbon and oxygen readings to previous data collected and the data used to calibrate the device to see where this new data point falls within the neutrality threshold. The reason for measuring oxygen along with the carbon is to determine if there is a fall in carbon dioxide as increasing carbon amounts remove oxygen from the atmosphere, thus decreasing carbon amounts increases the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere. The Raspberry Pi will then encrypt the data and send the data to a google cloud through a LoRa module which will become encrypted again, thus preventing a security breach if the third-party cloud becomes compromised. The data will then be accessed by the client looking for the data via our website that will decrypt the Raspberry Pi encryption when claimed from the cloud.

The use of both commercial components and custom-designed components also allows for more versatility, since the device itself will not generate a large spatial footprint in the environment that it will be monitoring. The ability for the device to measure both inside and outside while having measurements and data being sent to the same cloud network results in better efficiency and analysis. The data and measurements can be more easily compared when there are multiple devices in play in a variety of settings.

Inspiration

Our team's main inspiration for creating the Finding the Balance design for the IoT Innovation Challenge was to produce a carbon emission monitor that could easily adjust the carbon neutrality threshold and be able to be set stationary anywhere with little to no difficulty. In doing so, we made certain that the main source of power in our design would allow our device to be used inside and outside commercial and residential buildings. For this reason, it was essential to have our device in a shape that would allow it to be spatially aware of the possible locations that it would have to collect and transfer data from. We also wanted to ensure the modality of this device was universal as well as able to limit the carbon footprint of the device without compromising the integrity of the data collection and transfer. The enclosure will be made with 3D printed material to keep our design as eco-friendly as possible without jeopardizing its ability to keep the contents inside it safe. Another inspiration for this design was following environmental compliance's. Unfortunately, the Adafruit 4867 is not RoHS compliant, however, the rest of the design is RoHS compliant.

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