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Carbon dioxide sensors used to warn of Covid risk in indoor spaces

Carbon dioxide sensors used to warn of Covid risk in indoor spaces

Issues alert if ventilation is insufficient

Chilean researchers have repurposed a carbon dioxide detector model to warn of the risk of contracting COVID-19 in enclosed spaces. The prototype measures air pollution which, in a room with people, would include the coronavirus if anyone was infected since it is known to circulate via exhaled vapour.

The device, which is not yet for sale, uploads data to the cloud and issues an audio alert if ventilation is insufficient that could result in COVID-19 transmissions. The monitor, developed by the University of Chile’s Center for Mathematical Modeling and Center of Excellence in Astrophysics and Technologies Related, is already being tested in university campuses in the South American country.

“If you are in a place that does not have combustion, the only source of CO2 is people,” Ricardo Finger, an electrical engineer at the University of Chile, said in an interview. “But if you measure the amount of CO2 in the air, you can estimate how much air one person is breathing that has already been breathed by another.”

Carbon dioxide concentration, as well as temperature and humidity levels, are transmitted by radio signals to a control panel, which can monitor dozens of sensors at the same time.

CO2 sensors have been around for a long time, but the difference is that they had not previously been considered to confront coronavirus contagion.

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