Copy of ArduinoAirAware

Arduino Air Aware


Arduino Air Aware(AA) is a smart mask that challenges the simplicity and function of normal smog masks seen today. As air pollution becomes more and more of an issue in many countries, people have begun to wear masks for the sake of their health; however, there are still a lot of people who do not wear masks for many reasons. An important reason is that conventional masks are unable to inform people of the quality of the air.  

My team combined Adafruit’s CCS811 gas sensor with a Circuit Playground Express and seven optical fibers to create the mask. This setup will monitor temperature, carbon dioxide, and total volatile organic compounds. The sensor is easy to work with using it’s I2C interface and pre-calibrated ranges. During the process of making the mask, our goal is to make the wearer not only physically but also emotionally more comfortable.

AA can detect trace amounts of volatile organic compounds or VOCs and many gases in order to 1) protect the user and 2) to warn them and those around of toxic VOCs and many gases. When AA picks up abnormal particles/gases, the Arduino controller changes the fiber-optics colors.

Arduino, Interactive Design, User Experience

Interactive Mask

YangShan Chou / Arduino, Adafruit’s CCS811
Sean Moss / Arduino, 3D Prints
Zachary Hawk / 3D Prints


AA color demonstration

0-300 ppm
Constant rainbow colors

300-1000 ppm
Constant green and blue

1000 up ppm
Flashing rainbow colors


In the prototype stage, we experimented the AA by using boiled water to generate CO2.

What are safe levels of CO2 in rooms?
250-350 ppm Normal background concentration in outdoor ambient air

350-1,000ppm Concentrations typical of occupied indoor spaces with good air exchange

1,000-2,000ppm Complaints of drowsiness and poor air.


The project started off as an exploration of wearable devices on the head and face. Why do we wear these objects and what is the functional purpose? Below are the sketches of the early development of the mask’s appearances. We came up with four sketches and we decided to do a concept  for the appearance on a headphone structure that has a round component going into the ear.


We purchased the dusk mask from Amazon and tested different materials of 3D prints to create the housing for the Arduino and air sensor. AA is still in it’s prototype phase and as of now is crudely pieced together. In construction, we went through many tests and trials of both the housing for the Arduino and air sensor. Finding the best way to display the colors was one of the challenges my team ran into. For this version, we used 3D printed housings made of PLA(Polylactic Acid) and we connected the two housings, made of a more flexible 3D printed rubber composite.

3D printed housings and rubber composite

Test out Circuit Playground Express LED lights with fiber optics


Experiment Adafruit’s CCS811 gas sensor with a Circuit Playground Express

Experiment Circuit Playground Express sound and LED output with 8 levels of CO2 amount