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Outreach News

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Talking air quality sensors and graphene at the Maker Faire Barcelona

Daniel Grajales of the ICN2 NanoBiosensors and Bioanalytical Applications Group was at this year’s Maker Faire Barcelona, held this past weekend from 17 to 18 June. The Maker Faire originated in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006 as a meeting point for the tech-influenced DIY community, and has gone on to bring together the creative and the curious around the world ever since.

Maker Faire is a worldwide network of flagship and independent events that brings together the most inspired, talented and ambitious “makers” to share their knowledge and creations. It aims to put the citizen front and centre of development in their region. This year’s Maker Faire Barcelona was held from 17 to 18 June at Fira Barcelona Montjuïc.

Daniel Grajales, a fellowship doctoral student at the ICN2 NanoBiosensors and Bioanalytical Applications Group led by Prof. Laura M. Lechuga, was there and demonstrating the group’s DIY Arduino-based sensor for measuring air quality. Specifically, it monitors for the presence of particulate matter (PM), a substance identified as affecting more people than any other pollutant. Super small PM measuring 10 microns or less in diameter (that is, less than 0.00001 of a metre) are particularly harmful to health, since they can penetrate the body’s physical barriers to become lodged in the lungs. Chronic exposure can be a contributing factor to the onset of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and lung cancer.

Indeed, air pollution is a major cause of death worldwide, and not only in mega-cities like Shanghai and Mexico City: not so long ago air quality right here in Spain did not meet some of the guidelines set out by the World Health Organization.

Daniel Grajales reports that there was also much interest expressed in the ICN2’s advancements and applications of graphene.