Honeywell analyser tests airborne particles

  • December 21, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

Honeywell has announced an airborne particle analyser that uses artificial intelligence and cloud computing so HVAC service providers can inform home and building owners of the quantity and type of particles present in the air.

Airborne particles, allergens and spores affect the quality of life for more than 400 million people worldwide. For example, poor indoor air quality has been found to cause allergic rhinitis, on which Americans spend more than $3bn each year.

Honeywell’s Air Detective can capture images and details of those allergens and particles in the air. It lets HVAC service providers and environmental testing professionals evaluate indoor air quality in near real time with a mobile app that can be accessed on a tablet or emailed directly to the homeowner.

This detailed evaluation, including images of the particles, can help homeowners and building managers make informed decisions about how to improve the air inside their homes or buildings.

“Understanding what is in the air inside your home or building is a top priority for owners,” said Sarah Martin, president of Honeywell’s sensing and IoT business. “HVAC, environmental testing and other service professionals are looking for innovations that will help them test air quality on the spot and determine the specific equipment, service and system upgrades needed to improve the indoor air quality. We have developed a cost-effective, portable analyser that uses holographic microscopy and cloud technology to take pictures and classify airborne particles. Honeywell continues to help improve air quality for people while at home, on the job or when travelling.”

The handheld and lightweight, lens-less microscope can be easily carried by a field technician to classify types of particles present in the air, including spores and various pollen species. It leverages industrial analytics software and deep learning algorithms that are trained on specific pollen and spore species.

This portable analyser has already been deployed by environmental testing companies and HVAC distributors such as Yandle-Witherspoon Supply.

“HVAC providers are being asked more and more to explain the specific airborne particles, spores and allergens in the air and suggest filters to improve air quality and comfort,” said Philip Guy Junior, territory sales manager at Yandle-Witherspoon. “Honeywell’s particle analyser has proved to be useful in field trials by helping our technicians pinpoint the specific pollen and spores present in the air so that we can work together with homeowners to make informed decisions and take action to improve their HVAC air cleaning systems and provide additional services.”

The device uses disposable air analysis cartridges to collect particles, photograph them and automate the classification process onsite. In the past, professionals would have collected and shipped the air sample off to a lab where a technician would be spending hours analysing the sample under a microscope before providing a detailed report.

Honeywell has acquired Sine Group, an Australian technology and software-as-a-service company that provides visitor management, workplace and supply chain services that are accessible with mobile devices. Sine’s technologies will support a cloud-based mobile platform for Forge, Honeywell’s enterprise performance management offering, and Sine’s software will augment Honeywell’s connected buildings offerings with expanded safety, security and compliance capabilities.