top of page


BA Degree Project 

September 2023 - May 2024

The University of Edinburgh

Brief: Create an innovative product that showcases your design interests and skills gained from the product design program. The goal: address a significant social, cultural, or technological problem with a transformative solution. 

aq is a solution for an elegant, compact, and portable wearable indicator that raises air quality awareness and stylishly blends with everyday clothing. It prompts informed decisions about selecting better commute routes, ensuring every breath is a breath of clean air. The attachable light ring device shows users local air quality through a soft, pulsing glow based on the air quality index (AQI) scale.

aq caters to everyone prioritising air quality, including active commuters, cyclists, athletes, the elderly, children, and individuals with respiratory issues. Wear it on the go—whether walking, biking, or in transit—and attach it to your bag, wrist, belt, or jacket. Stay mindful of the air you breathe with aq, prompting proactive measures to minimise personal exposure to poor air quality for a healthier lifestyle.

aq caters to every citizen of the world prioritising air quality, mainly: 

  • active commuters

  • cyclists 

  • athletes

  • elderly

  • children and youths

  • individuals with respiratory issues

The aq wearable air quality indicator is the smallest of its kind, measuring just 45mm in diameter. Designed for versatility, it can be easily worn on clothing—whether on your wrist, jacket, or shirt—using the clip on the back, or attached to your bag, belt, or bike with the adjustable silicone strap.

Featuring an on/off push button and a USB-C charger opening, the device also includes a slot at the top of the clip for looping the adjustable strap. When air quality levels are poor (the device glows red) the device will emit a series of beeps. 

Each aq indicator comes in its own packaging set, complete with the adjustable strap, a charging cable, and a setup guide. The guide introduces the device's functionality, the data it measures, and how to use and interpret air quality readings.

The aq device doubles as an indoor air quality monitor, providing real-time data on volatile organic compounds, carbon dioxide, temperature, humidity, and pressure levels. Connect it to your computer and track and map your air quality data using the Home Assistant platform that receives data from the device via your WiFi network. 


My interest in developing a user-centric air quality device stems from my personal experiences with air pollution in Bulgaria's capital, Sofia, one of the most polluted European cities. Sofia's geographical features create a barrier that traps pollutants like particulate matter (PM), nitrogen dioxide, and carbon. Factors contributing to this include heavy traffic, winter residential heating, and emissions from old industrial facilities.


The aq wearable device addresses the broader issue of the role designers play in developing air quality devices, emphasising their significance in streamlining the communication of air quality data to users as clean air is vital for respiratory health, promoting activity, productivity, and overall life quality.

Air Pollution Heat Mapping Installation of Sofia, December 2023 

Around 91% of the world’s population lives in areas and indoor spaces where air quality exceeds WHO guideline limits.




4.2 million premature

deaths are caused by air pollution, with respiratory infections resulting. 



2.4 billion people 

worldwide cook using open fires and stoves fuelled by kerosene and biomass, creating harmful indoor air pollution.


In London, 67.5% of respondents to an Asthma UK survey said their condition was caused by air pollution.

The aq wearable air quality indicator was developed through the exploration of two initial electronic prototyping directions. Each proposal was constructed on a mounted frame for easy wiring, and component organisation, and to maintain the visual airy aesthetic.


The first direction is a device that measures real-time air quality using a personal sensor capable of detecting harmful gases such as carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds. It alerts users to indoor releases from appliances and outdoor gases from vehicles and city smog.

When exposed to air contaminants or ethanol-soaked cloth, the sensor triggers colour changes on the light ring, reflecting the Air Quality Index, emits a warning sound from the buzzer, and displays real-time particle count measurements.


The second electronic version that was developed for the aq wearable device connects to fixed air quality stations in your city based on location proximity, retrieving and visualising on the light ring air quality data from the nearest station.

The visuals above compare air quality data from central Edinburgh, consistently good, and Pirot, Serbia, consistently poor. Both measurements are from the same day and time via the World's Air Pollution mapping platform.

The aq wearable indicator design evolved through many stages, drawing inspiration from a minimalist design language, using negative space and an oval form for a dynamic and lightweight appearance conveying purified air circulation. 


Continuous user-centric development included prototype testing with various attachment styles and materials. Through wearability testing, I found that the white silicone gradient ring encapsulating a pulsing light effectively conveys air quality data. Additionally, a dual-style attachment mechanism - both a clip for clothing and a strap for versatile attachment to your bag or bike- enhances the device's effective use.

The final casing design for the aq indicator underwent several prototyping stages, including clip and strap attachments, light ring, airflow grid, and on/off switch. Initial attempts with 3D printing PLA casings proved unsuitable due to roughness and fragility, leading to the decision to use grey SLA resin printing for its durability and high-quality finish.


The adjustable attachment strap loops through the clip for easy use and is made from hardened coloured silicone. The airflow grid, made of laser-cut translucent acrylic, allows air to reach the PCB. The light ring is encapsulated in silicone and protected by a clear resin cover. All the casing components were assembled and sealed with epoxy, with the resin on/off push button mounted on the side of the device.

aq air quality board
Bosch Gas bVOCeq & CO2eq Sensor 
RGB Light
I2C STEMMA QT/ Qwiic Connector
ESP32 with 2.4 GHz WiFi and Bluetooth 
On/Off Button
USB-C Charging Port
Reprogrammable GPIO Pins
What does aq measure?
aq indicator exploded electronics view
Clear Resin
Light Cover
Light Ring
Air Quality PCB
LiPo Battery
Silicone Encapsulation for Light Ring 
Airflow Grid
Micro Lipo
USB - C Charger
Resin Casing with
Silicone Insulation
bottom of page