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About Respire

  • Founders: Akshit Gupta
  • Founded in: 2019
  • Employees: 3
  • Money raised: Prize money and own funds
  • Ultimate goal: Google or Apple as clients and to sell 10,000 devices by 2025

Simulating air quality data is a thing of the past thanks to the sensor developed by Delft-based start-up Respire. It measures the quality of the air anytime, anywhere and accurately. Akshit Gupta explains.

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What is Respire?

“Simply put: It’s a start-up that can make the air pollution surrounding you more transparent. We use data collected by our sensors to analyze which nitrogen oxides and other volatile organic compounds are floating in the air near you. We do this by attaching our devices to buses, cars or bicycles.”

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How did Respire come into being?

“I entered a competition where you had to submit a research proposal to develop technology for a global problem. From personal experiences in my home country of India, I knew that they were trying to measure air quality on a hyperlocal scale there, but the sensors that could do were not so advanced yet. After a new type of sensor was also approved by the European Union, all I had to do was make the device self-sufficient. Winning a grant of €5,000 enabled us to get started on making our own air quality sensors.”

How does your solution differ from the way air pollution is currently being studied?

“Researchers now simulate data on the basis of the information they gain from public monitoring stations across the Netherlands, because they do not have access to any real-time data. This simulation might be correct, or it might not. We collect the data with a small portable device that is half the size of an iPhone 12. We can use this to continuously monitor air quality and consequently see if it is worsening or improving in a certain area.”

 How far have you gotten with the sensor? Is it finished yet?

“The first prototype is finished. We have received permission from the GGD Municipal Health Service in Amsterdam to install it on their roof for further research. In fact, this should have been done last year, but the process has been delayed due to the coronavirus. Hopefully, we can start the testing phase before the end of the year.”

What does the future of Respire look like?

“We are able to do a lot with the software and hardware that we have developed. A future dream of ours, of course, is that Apple or Google will want to be our customer and buy our software. In that case, for example, in a few years you could see what the cleanest route is for running. But for now, we are just hoping that by 2025 we will have managed to make good sensors that sell well. We’re aiming for at least 10,000 devices by 2025.”