Mindful Droid - Take Action against Air Pollution

Bringing awareness to air pollution and taking action by letting people know of the effects these poisonous gases emit from their vehicles

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The design focus for the Mindful Droid is to lend a voice for the next generation (children) and bring awareness and change to parents and adults that are currently in the world’s driving seat.

The Mindful Droid is a passive way of encouraging activism amongst school children on their school and daily commutes, speaking up about Issues that surround us. The Mindful Droid will help bring more visual awareness towards the effects of Air Pollution and how to take action, educate and prevent it.

The notion for this is we don't have to wait for a public speaking figure or known activists before we take control of the issues that surround and affect us.

The Droid has the ability to monitor CO2 indoors and CO outdoors, giving appropriate warning signs based on the environment it's in. In this case, it will be during “to and from” school commutes and inside of a living space.

The Mindful Droid is an open-source IOT modular device that allows both children and adults alike to monitor and collect data on indoor and outdoor air pollution levels, giving appropriate warning signs based on the environment it's in. In this case, it will be during “to and from” school commutes,  sharing air quality data to inform users and exposed users through interactive and engaging visualisations. 

The Build for the Mindful Droid was following the principles of good design, ensuring simplicity, ease of use, making it easy to deploy, accessible and customisable for various educational, and awareness purposes in all works of life. E.g School commutes, trips to the park, daily commutes, work and office spaces etc.

Problem Case Study

Parenting comes with challenges and responsibilities and with that, there is something about “preserving the next generation” that makes us think more about the kind of place we are leaving for them to inherit and live in.

As parents, we are in the worlds driving seat and are responsible for our actions, in this case what do we know about our environments and the poisonous emissions we let out from our vehicles?

Taking my children to school and seeing the congested traffic and emissions coming out from idling and revving vehicles around school safe zones was concerning and didn’t help my asthmatic condition that developed from working in a badly polluted engineering environment. 

Air pollution is one of the world's leading risk factors for death, attributed to millions of deaths each year. It has attributed to 11.65% of deaths globally. It is also one of the leading risk factors for disease burden. 

The story of Ella Kissi-Debrah, a UK schoolgirl who died after an asthma attack following multiple seizures and hospital admissions, with her death linked to being exposed to nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter (PM) pollution in excess of WHO guidelines, the principal source of which were traffic emissions, challenged my to thinking, consciousness and awareness about Air pollution. 

Below is a picture of a school congestion and traffic during peak hours.

So I wondered how serious this will be for children when most pollutants around school are dense and tend to accumulate at around less than 1metre height, I.e right at the height for most school children including baby pushchairs and pets. These stats and realisation made me question what I know about this issue and also what other parents know about air pollution and keeping children safe. I carried out a school survey with parents about their awareness on Air Pollution.

To my surprise I realised not many parents knew or were bothered about it and I also fell into that category before taking on this challenge. 

Below are some of the survey questions asked.

Looking into what was in the market to monitor and understand Air pollution shows a huge disparity in the understanding and awareness air pollution and further leading to the discovery of social class and diversity system playing a part to people not knowing much about Air Pollution, meaning it is not a common topic for discussion and for most people, beyond their everyday language and if it was, you would need to be a specialist, scientist or a victim of Air pollution.


With the Mindful Droid, children and adults are able to start conversations, engage and understand the topics of Air Pollution and most importantly take action in a fun and passive way. 

Mindful Droid - Prototype StageSeeing children talk about air pollution and what effect it has on them and the environment makes us want to do better.

The focus areas for the Mindful droid are;

  1. Track Air quality, Make hardware/software and data open-source accesible - Able to correspond with real-time Air Quality API Data.
  2. Inform and Educate - Through Visibility of Information, improvement can be made on drivers’ behaviour such as turning off the engine (instead...
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LED Pixel

Led Pixel Art Designs

Zip Archive - 20.84 kB - 10/08/2022 at 15:58


Mind Droid Code

Zip Archive - 6.95 kB - 10/08/2022 at 15:58



Mindful Droid Full Assem STL

Zip Archive - 2.39 MB - 10/08/2022 at 15:57


step - 10.03 MB - 10/08/2022 at 13:28


View all 11 components

  • MindFul Droid 3d print, Fixtures and Reiterations

    MichaelOmotosho10/23/2022 at 13:43 0 comments

  • Mindful Droid Design Improvement

    MichaelOmotosho10/23/2022 at 13:40 0 comments

  • Soldering of components on Droid

    MichaelOmotosho10/23/2022 at 13:05 0 comments

  • Mindful Droid Led Testing

    MichaelOmotosho10/23/2022 at 12:51 0 comments

  • PCB Design Stage and Conceptualisation

    MichaelOmotosho10/23/2022 at 12:44 0 comments

    PCB Design

    PCB Design Stage - Layout

  • Air Pollution School Survey Report

    MichaelOmotosho10/23/2022 at 12:38 0 comments

    Based on the accumulated results from the survey, the Mindful Droid will be a visually informative and educating device to raise awareness and bring the reality of air pollution around school areas and commutes. It will not be invasive but a subtle constant reminder of the effects of emissions and actions to help reduce them. Psychologically, this would lead to taking positive actions and changing behaviours subconsciously with the information absorbed.

    The Mindful Droid is set to be proactive and not reactive to air pollution and if the information is repeated enough the mind will subconsciously take it in.

    Please see survey below and how it will influence the Mindful Droid.

  • Case Study - School Traffic Congestion Issue

    MichaelOmotosho10/23/2022 at 12:23 0 comments

    Video shows Traffic Congestion around the school area during peak pickup times and people queuing to get into the school.

    In this case there is no control of vehicles to stay away from the "safe school zone'

    No awareness from drivers about  the toxic fumes they are emitting from their vehicles whilst idling. 

    Local and School authorities have no data around this issue and how best to take effective action 

    Children and adult are exposed to this poisonous fumes as they wait to pick up their children

  • MindFul Droid Ideation and Cardboard Protototype

    MichaelOmotosho10/21/2022 at 20:28 0 comments

    MindFul Droid Ideation & Cardboard Protototyping

    Designing Mindful Droid Prototype

    Mindful Droid - Prototype Stage

  • The Pixel Art Animation development

    MichaelOmotosho10/08/2022 at 16:29 0 comments

    For those who might be interest in the art creative part of this project, designing the smiley pixel faces, below is the process is fun process I went through.

    I have had to use an open-source platform PixelArt to design the Art animation for the Droid. The process was quite straight forward once I knew the type of animation I wanted on the Droid. The platform has tutorials on how to achieve desired design effect. For this process, I would recommend sketching ideas on paper first to help understand how to bring them onto pixel art. I did struggle as I had some restraints with the pixel canvas size which was 18x10, making it difficult to get proportional designs on the droid. However, I was able to make about 18-pixel designs for the droid and the fun part is you can do this also by yourself following the steps taken.

    Going for a smaller pixel pitch size is something I would consider doing moving forward, to allow freedom of manipulating pictures into pixel canvas easily.

    An example below is of an angry face pixel design that will appear and reflect upon a high polluted room or environment.

    angry face pixel design

    Once a design has been made, the next phase is to convert this into the droid. This is done using Led Matrix Control software (LMCS) by YouTuber Tyler Jones. This is used for controlling LED matrix in real-time.

    The LED control software helps to convert the pixel-designed files, this means I can save the design to “.txt” format that will be readable by the Droid when uploaded onto Arduino. Another cool feature with LMCS is that you can upload actual images and convert them directly into pixel art in real-time with little or no iterations.

    The link above on his name, directs you to his youtube video tutorials on how to achieve desirable pixel art design and animations of your choice.

    I have also attached all the pixel art designs I made for the droid on files attachment section.


    MichaelOmotosho10/08/2022 at 13:31 0 comments

    What's next I hear you say?

    I believe in continuous improvement and there is a lot more to achieve with the Mindful Droid, in terms of Hardware, software and deployment of device .

    This will be done by having a team of activists and action takers consisting of designers, engineers - hardware/software hackers.  

    With a team, there is a wider scope for execution, infrastructure and deployment.
    A way to keep control of this is by creating a 'Mindful Droid App' for the next version that helps in regulating the devices distributed from a hub and also for users to have a streamlined process for setting up, debugging/calibrating sensors, updating and uploading data to and from device.

    From a user experience and interaction point of view, I would also like to expand the visual animation interface further, as I believe that there is room for more experimentation and better pixel art designs that can be creatively engaging for its users attracting the awareness for change. 

    With all of this in place, it would create a community that are contributing to a global air quality data, pushing a positive narrative toward air pollution.

    From my design experience, and following Dieter Rams principles of  a "good design is thorough to the last detail", a smooth and comprehensive interaction is needed. I want the Mindful Droid to work well and not just be a project device that has limitations.

    Overall, I believe with the support and collaboration from Hackaday and community members, there will be a plethora of things that can be achieved technically beyond my approach on this project and this is what I hope for with Mindful Droid version 2.0.

    I am always open to opportunities and collaborations with other community members and groups. 

View all 10 project logs

  • 1
    Bill of Materials

    PCB Design and Electronic Part List

    • PCB Board Design
    • Arduino, MKR WIFI 1010 - 176-3647
    • Seeed Studio Air Quality Sensor v1.3 Grove System, Indoor Air Quality Testing
    • MQ-7 Gas Sensor (Carbon Monoxide) × 1
    • High Capacity Lithium-Ion Battery Pack (6700mAh) × 1
    • JST PH 2-Pin Cable - Female to Female Connector 150mm × 2 ( If not available splice two females together)
    • HARWIN M20, 2.54mm Pitch, 36 Way, 1 Row, Right Angle Pin Header, Through Hole
    • RS PRO M3 x 6mm Hex Socket Cap Screw Plain Stainless Steel
    • RS PRO, M3 Brass Threaded Insert diameter 4mm Depth 4.78mm
    • RS PRO, Pozidrive Countersunk Stainless Steel Machine Screw M2 x 5mm


    • Wires for PCB wiring (should come with the sensors)
    • Double-sided adhesive tape
    • Soldering Iron, Solder etc -  to insert Brass Inserts
    • Glue gun
    • Scalpel Knives
    • Tweezers
    • Wire Cutters/Pliers
    • Vernier Callipers
    • Hand drill
    • Dremel / Hand File
    • Mini Hand Files - Flat, Round, Square (for metal, and plastic filing).
  • 2
    Build and Assembly

    The build for this project has been a huge learning process for me, and as a Design Engineer, you would expect me to know a lot more, but that wasn’t the case. On this project, I learned how to solder for the first time (unbelievable, I know) and some other new discoveries.

    Also as expected, I had some challenges with this project. Some of these were: a sensor not providing appropriate results, having to desolder the sensor and trying to make it right with a different sensor component, learning to code and also dealing with practical design issues for the Droid enclosure and fixtures.

    This project was done in collaboration Rs Component Design Spark and also wouldn’t have been possible without the help and guidance of a Wiz friend, who is also a part of the DesignSpark and Hackaday Forum member Ahmed Oyenuga - Ahmsville. Please do check out his awesome projects and progress.

    Components on PCB Board

    I started by soldering the Arduino board to the PCB board, placing the pins through the holes and soldering on the PCB board rear and also did the same with the sensor using header pins. Being my first time soldering I had to ensure I got the right temperature to heat up the solder of about 350 degrees and also ensure I don’t have solder bridging across the pins.

    Assembling the droid - connecting Arduino

    I had issues with the MICS5524 sensor not giving accurate results and that was the gas breakout sensor, which I haven’t added to the part list, although it's on the PCB board design. I have had to change it to an MQ-7 Gas Sensor which I am gave the desired carbon monoxide CO outdoor readings.

    CO Sensor fitting to PCB

    Once this was sorted the next phase was to test out the RGB addressable LEDs, soldered components and check for connectivity and check the sensors give appropriate results. Below are some the testing results for the Mindful Droid, where myself and Ahmed got a little bit excited with the testing.

    Display examples

  • 3
    Mindful Droid Build Video

View all 4 instructions

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