You may be better off not inhaling\u2014especially when you consider all the airborne pollutants indoors.\nThe EPA estimates that there are over 65,000 chemicals releasing pollutants into the air that are often too small for regular air filters to catch. Mold, flame retardants on carpets, and vapors from synthetic materials are just some of the sources of this type of pollution. For people with breathing difficulties, children, and the elderly, the impact is especially hazardous.\nBiome's solution is based on\u00a0bio-mimicry:\u00a0"innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature\u2019s time-tested patterns and strategies.The goal is to create products, processes, and policies\u2014new ways of living\u2014that are well-adapted to life on earth over the long haul.\u00a0The core idea is that nature has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with. Animals, plants, and microbes are the consummate engineers."\u00a0\n\n\n \n\n\nNature solves the toughest problems. Why not apply some of those time-tested and organic approaches to solve man-made problems such as air pollution as well?\u00a0The microbes found on plants' roots naturally absorb airborne substances and supply them as nutrients for the plant to grow. Biome uses this microbe behavior, coupled with IoT sensors, to monitor airborne pollution and use that data to regulate the airflow over the microbes.\u00a0\n\nConverting the concept to a commercial solution took Biome some iterations. Just a few of the design challenges included:\n\nHow could the airflow over roots be increased to remove the most pollutants?\nHow could the operations be modified based on the volume of the room(s)?\nHow could maintenance be simplified with living plants in the unit?\nHow would water, light, and nutrients be delivered to the plants?\nHow should the unit be designed to simplify installation?\nHow could the esthetics and design appeal of the unit be enhanced?\n\nThe design process extended over several months to where the unit is now.\n\nBiome's solution consists of a wall-mounted unit that has a series of vertical pipes. Small pods with activated carbon in which small plants are growing are inserted into the pipes. At the top of each pipe is a small fan that forces air over the plants' roots. Special sensors are mounted above the Biome unit to measure the concentration of air pollutants, temperature, and humidity. This data, along with the volume of air to be purified, is used to operate the fans and control their speed. Lighting above the unit and a water reservoir at the bottom help minimize the maintenance required.\nA\u00a0single\u00a0Biome system daily purifies over 500,000 liters of air, which corresponds to what\u00a050 people breathe.\u00a0Biome complements existing air purification systems, as it catches the pollutants that slip through regular air filters and uses them as nutrients for the plants. Perhaps the first bio-mimicry based IoT system!\n\nAs more Biome units are deployed, sensor data will be fed into a central console that can analyze changes in air quality and the level of pollutants within the building. Combining this intelligence with occupancy levels and other relevant parameters will help increase the health of the building's occupants. Office buildings, condos, conference halls, hospitals and hospice centers are some of the target markets for Biome.\nSo, when you're in a building and see a small indoor hanging wall, and the air smells cleaner, check to see if it's Biome at work. And then inhale deeply!