University of the Philippines develops 1st Filipino-made air quality monitor

UP ROAM Project
The UP ROAM Project has been tested to be efficient in monitoring the air quality in cities. Photo from ROAM Project.

Researchers from the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD), in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), have locally developed the first Filipino-made low-cost, high-quality aerosol monitors to help find ways in minimizing air pollution in the cities.

Spearheaded by Dr. Len Herald V. Lim, the Robust Optical Aerosol Monitor or Project ROAM was initiated to measure particulate matter concentration in the air. It provides crucial information to create policies and programs for environmental protection.

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“ROAM units use a different method in detecting particles that does not require the manufacture/fabrication of specialized parts typical of contemporary commercial instrumentation. This allows a much lower production cost, smaller maintenance requirement, and an exclusive research chain” said Dr. Lim.

The team has already produced 10 optical aerosol monitors. Four of these have been verified for performance through collocation experiments with aerosol equipment used by the DENR-EMB while the remaining six are being tested for performance and will be subject to stricter collocation experiments when conditions permit.

The ROAM team is now exploring the creation of a spin-off company through DOST-PCIEERD’s Funding Assistance for Spinoff and Translation of Research in Advancing Commercialization or FASTRAC program to help advance the commercialization of their technology and bring this citizen science project to the community.

DOST-PCIEERD executive director Dr. Enrico C. Paringit expressed hope that the technology can be adopted by local government units who want to improve their area’s air quality through scientific means.

“As leader and partner in enabling innovations, we encourage our researchers for coming up with cutting-edge solutions to solve major environmental and societal issues. This technology is one significant stride in our path towards improving air quality. Now is a good time to cooperate with our innovators, adopt this solution to protect our future,” Paringit says.

The University of the Philippines has been at the forefront of developing solutions to the country’s dilemmas. More recently, UP scientists developed the Philippines’ first Covid-19 Test Kit, the ENDCovidPH tracker, and a health disaster simulation lab, among many other innovations.

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