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Showing results in New mobile device identifies airborne allergens using deep learning


A new, portable device for identifying and quantifying airborne biological particles, constructed from parts costing around $200, has been developed by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Typical methods for determining the levels of bioaerosols such as pollens and fungal spores require sampling using filters or traps, then laboratory analysis, which is both expensive and time-consuming. The new device can quantify five common allergens, including three types of pollen (Bermuda grass, oak and ragweed) and two different mould spores (Aspergillus and Alternaria), with classification accuracy of 94% and much faster (on timescales of a few minutes) than traditional methods.


Air pollution in Delhi, India is a huge problem for residents of the city, and impacts particularly on those working on the city’s busy roads.

Rickshaw drivers routinely work very long hours in an environment which can have PM2.5 levels above 20 times the World Health Organisation air quality guidelines, undertaking heavy-duty manual work while doing so, which increases volumetric breathing rate and puts extra burden on the lungs.


Although reducing vehicle tailpipe exhaust emissions remains a high priority in improving air quality, non-tailpipe emissions, such as those from brake wear, are likely to form an increasing proportion of total particulate emissions from road traffic, and may have specific health impacts associated with them. Therefore technology to reduce these emissions will also be required into the future, alongside exhaust emission reduction methods.


Evidence that carbonaceous particles may be translocated into the placenta during pregnancy has been reported by researchers from Queen Mary University of London at the European Respiratory Society congress. The study, undertaken with permission of five women who gave birth to healthy babies, isolated and screened 3500 placental macrophages and observed 60 cells which contained 72 particles.


The atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan appears as a thick orange haze, as a result of large hydrocarbons and organic aerosols. In the upper atmosphere, bombardment by extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation (wavelength 10-124 nm) and energetic particles produces large hydrocarbons via ion reactions. In the middle atmosphere (150-700 km altitude) these gaseous hydrocarbons are converted into particulates, but the exact details of this process are still subject to a deal of uncertainty.


Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed an aerosolisable spray containing 2-D circuits, which could be used in a number of environmental and health applications where limited access and space prevents larger sensors being used. The polymer circuit, which contains a sensor element, a photodiode to supply power and a memory element to store recorded information, is fabricated on a 100 µm-square, 1 µm thick substrate of SU-8 photoepoxy, and then dispersed in suspension and atomised.

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