What is Dusty-ACorn?

TL;DR … Acronym for Dusty Air Corner. Hardware/software project to bring air quality closer to pre-schoolers.

See it here

Air quality is often portrayed as a difficult subject where only specialists are able to participate in the discussion. However, we all breath the same air and therefore we all have a stake in understanding why the quality of the air changes and what can we do to mitigate adverse changes.

The main objective of this project is to develop an interactive display of air quality data accessible to pre-schoolers. The heart of the system is based on the Particles, Activity and Context Monitoring Autonomous Node (PACMAN) that connects to a Raspberry Pi to translate the readings of CO, CO2, Dust, Temperature, Movement and proximity into a colourful display that encourages the children to explore different activities and their impact on the invisible components of the air.

Who’s behind the Dusty-ACorn?

In 2015 the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) started a pilot called Participatory Science Platform. This is a programme designed to integrate three key action areas in the National Strategic Plan for Science in Society, ‘A Nation of Curious Minds - He Whenua Hiriri I Te Mahara’ by engaging young people, communities and scientists in collaborative science projects.

One of the pilot regions is South Auckland where COMET Auckland manages the SouthSci programme. One of the projects within this programme is where dusty-acorn sits.

The main participants in this project are five early childhood education centres in Mangere and NIWA’s air quality team.