PComp Midterm Project

After walking past my neighbor’s door and hearing him hacking up a lung, no doubt due to his chain smoking, I decided that I would attempt to construct a device that would give readings on the presence of second hand smoke — in MY apartment. For some time the smoke from next door was coming into my home. The landlord inspected and in a letter said he didn’t see smoke (a testament of the BS I deal with). If the need arises I want to be able to show him data that supports my claims.

Sensor for Sidestream Smoke Detection

  • Push button to initiate a scan of the air quality
  • Sensor that will: detect toxins in the atmosphere, compile readings, match them against some indicator
  • In P5, while the sensor is scanning, a sketch will show indicating that scanning is taking place
  • When the scan is completed (or turned off), a graph or chart will display the readings
  • YES/NO indicator based on the readings (telling me to go buy some more houseplants!)


A more simplified version.

Ideally a sensor that can pick up the chemical components of second hand smoke would be used. It would document the air quality in my home and attempt to measure my exposure. Second hand smoke detection would be an estimation as my research suggests that it may be difficult to isolate the concentrations of the chemical make up of this type of smoke since exposure varies according to the type and number of cigarettes or other tobacco products burned, the number of smokers present, the rate and manner of smoking, the room volume, the room ventilation rate, and the percentage of fresh (or makeup) air supplied.

Tobacco smoke consists of solid particles and gases. More than 4,000 different chemicals have been identified in tobacco smoke. The solid particles make up about 10 percent of tobacco smoke and include “tar” and nicotine. The gases or vapours make up about 90 percent of tobacco smoke. The major gas present is carbon monoxide. Others include formaldehyde, acrolein, ammonia, nitrogen oxides, pyridine, hydrogen cyanide, vinyl chloride, N-nitrosodimethylamine, and acrylonitrile. Of these, formaldehyde and vinyl chloride are suspected or known carcinogens in humans. N-nitrosodimethylamine and acrylonitrile have been shown to cause cancer in animals.

Here are some of the toxins that can be found in sidestream/secondhand smoke:

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