beijing's new favorite gadget reads pollution levels - best air purifier for smoke
For Beijing residents obsessed with air pollution, this season's New Year's goods are smog.
A detection device called Laser Egg.
The size of this device is equivalent to a large orange that can be used at home, in the car or in any place where air pollution is worrying --
In Beijing these days, it's basically everywhere.
It joins a booming market for indoor air quality measuring equipment, where air quality varies greatly between different rooms of the same building.
But its stylish design and $79 price make it more popular than wonkylooking, lab-
"It is powered by a rechargeable battery that sucks in the air through a small vent, and then through a laser beam that refractions when it hits the contaminated particles.
Sensors measure refraction.
The result is a digital reading of 0 to 500 on the standard air quality index (AQI.
Users can install an app on their phone that can monitor multiple eggs, track data over time, and send alerts if the air starts to get worse.
A Swiss expat, Liam Bates, plans to compile data on thousands of eggs online to tell people which restaurants and shops have the best air and which should be avoided.
Bates speaks fluent Mandarin and used to work on Chinese television, and when his wife Jessica Lin moved from Canada to Beijing and developed asthma symptoms, he began to be interested in tracking pollution.
The couple began to study the air.
They were not satisfied with the existing options and set up their own company, Origins' Technology, in 2014.
Their first product.
Laser Egg and $700 air purifier
Sales started this summer.
Both are made in China, but both use components from around the world.
Bates said: "Pollution is completely invisible, but if you have something that tells you the level of pollution, then you really start to realize all these interesting things that you didn't know before.
For example, he said he found that pollution in his home would rise every day around noon as his neighbors were cooking and the smoke infiltrated his kitchen through a shared vent.
Bates said the initial sale of eggs was good enough, but demand began to soar at the end of November --
Just as Archie in Beijing went deep into dangerous areas.
After several days of surging winds from Siberia to the south, Beijing fell into smog again last week.
This prompted city authorities to take unprecedented measures to issue a "red alert", close schools for a few days, and impose strict restrictions on traffic.
"In the past week's pollution, we have sold twice as much as the previous month," Bates said . ".
"There has been substantial growth.
"At the company's headquarters, in a shabby courtyard in the center of Beijing, one hand --
The letter cardboard sign on the red double door said: "Laser eggs are sold out.
"Bates said the company will not be able to start filling out orders until early January.
Among those waiting impatiently, there are Marines.
"I don't think they know it will be so popular," said the French expat, who has lived in China for seven years . ".
"I hope I can get one by the end of the month.
Dronet spent thousands of dollars on six planes.
Purify the machine for her home.
"I bought air purifiers like everyone else, but I want to make sure they are doing well," she said . ".
Richard St. Hill from Beijing
For a long time, the doctor opened an independent blog about air pollution in China, and after testing the accuracy of the eggs, he gave a thumbs up.
Some people who bought eggs were shocked by the reading of the eggs and found that despite their purification machine, the air quality in their homes was still in the range of "unhealthy" or worse.
Bates said some school administrators were annoyed with eggs because parents brought their equipment to check their children's classrooms and found that the air quality was lower than they expected.
Experts say that in order to prevent water seepage, doors and windows must be sealed, and even opening the door in less than a minute will lead to a sharp increase in pollution levels.
Singaporean Sarah Lim, who has lived in China for more than a decade, bought herself two laser eggs and one for a friend who had just had a baby.
She wants another one for her husband so he can test the air in his office.
Lim said eggs reassured her because she was doing something with her extensive precautions for air pollution.
"On Tuesday, when the AQI outside was over 300, my office reading was 7," she said . ".
At home, she had six purifiers "running at full speed" and when her bedroom was less than 30 years old, she found her living room hovering between 40 and 60. (
Reading of 50 or less is considered "good ". ")
Bates said he received inquiries from China and around the world, including India, Germany and even California.
The company has not yet shipped outside the mainland.
"When we do this, we say, 'This is obviously a product that works only in China, '" Bates said. '".
But this is clearly not the case.
"Follow @ JulieMakLAT news from China.