CO2 Detector: Simple Arduino Prototype

5 March 02019

So I decided to mess with this project after seeing this video by Tom Scott which shows Kurtis Baute in a hermetically sealed bubble to show how concentrated CO2 effects the brain. One of the shocking things was how little CO2 it took to actually show a noticeable decline in cognitive capacity: only taking about 2x atmospheric levels to cause a 15% decline in mental functions. This kind of spike occurs surprisingly often in cramped spaces with lots of people, such as offices or classroom, which are the kind of places where you really don’t want to lose cognitive capacity. The question naturally arises: how do you prevent this given that you can’t really tell how much CO2 is in the air

My vision for this is a mobile CO2 detector that will be able to travel around in a backpack or pocket, as well as be hang-able from a wall. Ideally it will powered by a battery and/or microUSB. The two biggest barriers to this in the market are price, as most detectors cost around $200, and knowledge, since everytime you search for CO2 detector you get carbon monoxide. I plan on selling this for between $30 and $50 on kickstarter at first.

The technical details at this stage aren’t particularly interesting. I basically bought a CCS811 breakout board from sparkfun and followed the instructions. When I get my shipment of microcontrollers I’ll dig into more details. Until then, here’s a video and the source code. Also, I did clean up some of the 7 segement display code from the pickle ball project just so that the code didn’t get too unruly.

Github code