Citizen Science

CHI • SIGCHI Human Factors in Computing

MyPart (2016)

Personal, Portable, Accurate Airborne Particle Counting

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In 2012, air pollution in both cities and rural areas was estimated to have caused 3.7 million premature deaths. The primary pollutant was small airborne particulate matter of 10 microns or less in diameter which led to the development of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. In response, we developed MyPart, the first personal, portable, accurate, open source air particle sensor. We demonstrate how MyPart offers substantial enhancements over most existing air particle sensors by simultaneously improving accessibility, flexibility, portability, and accuracy. We describe the evolution and implementation of the sensor design, demonstrate its performance across everyday urban environments versus a calibrated instrument, and conduct a preliminary user study to report on the overall user experience of MyPart. We also present a novel mobile visualization interface and a series of simple form factor adaptations of our design.

Since publishing this research at CHI 2016, we have further iterated on the mechanical and electrical design of the sensor. In addition, we have documented detailed build instructions for the sensor itself, as well as a test chamber for running various automated experiments.

Design and Fabrication Files
GitHub repo

Build Instructions
Instructable for the sensor
Instructable for an automated test chamber
Instructable for generating calibration particles




Rundong Tian
Sarah lowres.jpg
Sarah Sterman
Ethan Chiou
Christine Dierk
Chris Myers
Eric Paulos