AirSpeQ Announces NASA Earth and Space Air Prize Selection as Finalist

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“We are excited that this project is generating new ways for monitoring air quality”, said Dr. Michael Painter, senior program officer at RWJF. “We hope this unique effort with NASA brings this kind of innovation for space exploration right back down to Earth to help build a healthy future here.”

BERKELEY, Calif. April 09, 2018

Aerodyne Microsystems Inc. d/b/a AirSpeQ is excited to announce that it has been selected as a finalist for the NASA Earth and Space Air Prize conducted with the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). AirSpeQ's proposed technology innovation is an air pollution sensor that is robust, durable, inexpensive, efficient, lightweight, and easy-to-use in space by astronauts, future space travelers as well as residents of planet Earth

Air pollution is a serious health hazard for human beings whether on planet Earth or in space. In East Asia and the Pacific alone, the World Health Organization estimates that 1.3 billion people are breathing unsafe, unclean air each day. Particulate pollution is linked to heart disease, cancers, and early death. Worldwide, poor air quality prematurely kills over 4 million people per year and is effectively responsible for more annual deaths than HIV and malaria combined. Children, elderly and the sick are especially vulnerable.

Existing laboratory grade air pollution sensors are large, heavy and expensive. Existing consumer grade air pollution monitors are much smaller and less expensive but are designed to address superficial, visual, and olfactory symptoms of air pollution, but do not and cannot address fundamental air pollution hazards due to inherent deficiencies in their designs. What is needed is a laboratory quality monitor that is more like consumer grade monitors: small, lightweight and inexpensive.

“This competition serves to catalyze the aerosol community and accelerate development of highly innovative approaches that may otherwise take years to achieve,” said Marit Meyer, Ph.D., research engineer at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

“We are excited that this project is generating new ways for monitoring air quality”, said Dr. Michael Painter, senior program officer at RWJF. “We hope this unique effort with NASA brings this kind of innovation for space exploration right back down to Earth to help build a healthy future here.”

This selection recognizes, AirSpeQ’s technology's ability to leapfrog the existing solutions by allowing the accurate measurement of these most pernicious particulates. AirSpeQ’s gravimetric sensor uses MEMS techniques to weigh particulates directly and achieves accurate detection over the full size spectrum. In contrast to competitors, AirSpeQ’s monitor accurately measures particulate matter across the full range of concentrations, is reliable across a range of harsh environmental operating conditions, has a smaller form factor, consumes less power, works longer without maintenance, and at high volume costs substantially less to produce.

Founder and CTO, David Woolsey, noted that, “AirSpeQ is excited to be selected as a finalist as it further bolsters our understanding that not only is particulate matter pollution a serious health problem but that this is a problem for humans not only on Earth but also in space. We look forward to presenting our prototype at NASA's Glenn Research Center.”

Finalists have been awarded $50,000 each to build a functioning sensor according to their submitted proposals within a six-month period. Finalists will bring their prototypes to a demonstration and testing event in October 2018 to compete for the Grand Prize at NASA's Glenn Research Center. The Selection Committee will determine the Winner who will receive a $100,000 award.

To learn more about the NASA Earth and Space Air Prize, visit: https://www.earthspaceairprize.org/

About NASA and the International Space Station: Celebrating sixty years of existence, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of aeronautics and aerospace. For more than 16 years, humans have lived and worked continuously aboard the International Space Station, advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies, making research breakthroughs not possible on Earth that will enable long-duration human and robotic exploration into deep space. A global endeavor, more than 200 people from 18 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 1,900 research investigations from researchers in more than 95 countries. Visit http://www.nasa.gov.

About AirSpeQ: Founded in 2016, AirSpeQ is committed to improving and saving lives by commercializing sensors for fine and ultrafine airborne particulate matter detection. Based on proprietary Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) and Thin-film bulk acoustic resonator (Thin-FBAR) technology, it leverages over ten years of of research and development at the University of California at Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Visit http://www.airspeq.com

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