A multifunctional IoT device for personal air control with the ability to kill COVID viruses. The device monitors air quality and can be controlled via a mobile app. Both hardware and software were developed from scratch at EnCata.
Consumer & Wearable
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A startup came to EnCata with the idea of developing an air purification device that cleans and moisturizes dry air.
When conducting a feasibility study for the startup, EnCata’s analysts managed to re-formulate the pain points customers have, which were:
1. insufficient indoor moisture / dry air during the heating season or in rooms with air conditioning.
2. Air contamination within a room / office with people's breath and other concomitant organic gas molecules that leads to a change in the room’s smell.
3. The growth of allergies among urban residents. According to statistics, 50-70% of people in the world suffer from allergic and allergy related diseases. The most common is bronchial asthma.
4. Air humidifiers available at the time were not able to provide data on essential air quality parameters. So the customers turned on their own to additional IoT air quality sensors.
These problems are typically solved by having multiple single-function devices, which is expensive and used a lot of space.
The challenge for EnCata was to solve these problems and create a functional and aesthetically beautiful product design that customers would want to buy.
Electronics PCB development
mechanical design & engineering
CFD airflow simulations
Rapid Industrial Prototyping
DFM and DFA
Mobile and web app development
Bluetooth low energy (BLE)
Wi-Fi on board
Custom AC-DC adapter
Ultrasonic mist generator / fogger
HEPA air filtration
Plastic injection moulding DFM
C++ / C#
EnCata offers comprehensive hardware and IoT product development services at a fraction of the cost
• R&D + design + manufacturing under ONE roof • Scale up and down your team • Intergrated hardware + software development • New technologies and research
In developing this product, EnCata utilized its profound expertise in air purification and IoT.
We offered the startup to combine the functions of 5 different devices in one: humidifier, air fragrance diffuser, an ionizer, air purifier, and a climate station. It was also suggested to incorporate the most precise CO2 sensor, as carbon dioxide is a major contributing factor affecting indoor work productivity.
So the device works to:
Analyze indoor air conditions and alerts users;
Maintain the level of humidity at the required physiological level;
Сlean air from dust, allergens and microorganisms;
Improve emotional and physical condition to increase work productivity.
The product’s hardware is built around custom PCB electronics with MCU STM32 that controls the device, its modules and an array of sensors:
1. Fan snail providing airflow through the HEPA filters,
2. Ultrasonic evaporator that breaks water into tiny particles.
3. An ionizer that produces ions that purify the air and contribute to the deposition of dust on surfaces (e.g. on the table/bench where the device is located)
4. a 3-layer replaceable air filter (foamy sponge + carbon filter + HEPA filter), which filters the incoming air and cleans it both from suspended particles and orours.
5. Sensors (including the CO2 sensor) of air parameters that assess the state of air by three parameters - temperature, humidity and concentration of carbon dioxide.
6. Water level sensor, which shows the fullness of the water tank.
The device is designed to be quiet during the day and night (producing only 40dB at night, which is equal to “quiet library sounds”).
The IC part of the electronics is powered by the network adapter, and power consumption is 40W at its peak.
When engineering work and tests were completed, a batch of devices with enclosures from different materials (powder coated sheet metal, wood, plastic) were produced and with these devices the startup successfully launched crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. With crowdfunding preorders in hand, the startup launched mass-production in China and developed a mobile application which had existed in the Proof of Concept stage of the project.
The app development was initially started from mockups development in Figma, followed by detailed SRS (software requirements specification) development.The mobile app helps manage and control the functions of the IoT device.
The app logic is as follows: the user installs the application (IOs or Android) to gain control over various device features. After linking the application to the device, the user is able to monitor air quality in the room. The mobile application has an in-app purchase section for consumables (filters and aromatic oils) which enables a D2C (direct to customers) business recurring revenues business model, serving both the clients and the young hardware company.
The data flows from the IoT device (using BLE) via an API to the smartphone which acts as a gateway, transferring various readings and device status to the cloud. The cloud application communicates back and forth with the smartphone app, so the user can monitor various air quality parameters and turn ON and OFF various features such as air ionization and oil essence/aroma evaporation, check the filter status, measure real time CO2 concentration, room humidity and temperature - all to help create a favorable microclimate.
The developed mobile app supports integration with Alexa, SIRI, Alisa, Google Home and IFFFT with its RESTful API, all which makes the Albo/AirZen device a useful part of any Smart Home system.
China is one of the main consumers of climate technology, accounting for 35-40% of the global sales of HVAC equipment. "Red", the highest level of air pollution is not uncommon for large cities in China and the quality of air in these cities continues to deteriorate - in December 2016, the concentration of fine suspended particles PM10 exceeded 800 μg / m3. For comparison: the WHO considers an unhealthy concentration of PM10 to be that exceeding 20 μg / m3.
Despite numerous environmental protection and green energy development programs, the United States remains among the leaders in environmental pollution. According to the report of the American Association for the fight against pulmonary diseases, more than half of the country's inhabitants breathe air with a dangerous level of pollution. Put another way, 166 million Americans daily put themselves at risk of developing asthma, heart disease, and oncology due to the air they breathe.
The startup came to EnCata with an idea and together we completed all stages of product development such that the client left with a growing business which had successfully executed two crowdfunding campaigns. In 2020, the product was modified to help fight the Covid pandemic. The air ionization feature of the device charges the surface of the coronavirus with ions, disrupting the membrane of the virus.
Excluding the 5 months of crowdfunding, the project took 9 months; 6 months for hardware development and 3 months on mobile app development. Further volume production with an OEM in China took 6 months, which included manufacturer selection, actual production and logistics to customers in N. America and Europe.
The product is now sold online and on Amazon, Aliexpress and Ozon.
campaigns for crowdfunding successfully completed
preorders received before launching production
features realized in the product, making 4 one-feature products obsolete