There’s Always Room for Improvement

By Helen Lu

Data collection over the past few weeks have gone relatively smoothly. This week however, we ran into a few issues with the Dylos air quality monitor. Since it only turns on when it is plugged in, a broken cord prevented us from taking air quality data during two of our shifts. However, Alex got us a new cord for the Dylos, and we have already resumed our research! This week, we also met with Eon Lee to discuss the data we have been collecting during the past couple of weeks. Lee is a postdoctoral student who works with Dr. Yifang Zhu, the public health professor that last year’s air quality team worked with. We showed him our data, and he reassured us that it looked reasonable. He also taught us unit conversions so that we could change the numbers from the Dylos into data with meaningful units.

Lee also gave us recommendations on how to improve our project. He suggested that we elevate the Dylos at around 1.5 meters, or within the “breathing zone”, while taking measurements instead of placing it on the ground. Testing air quality at a higher point would provide more representative data of the air that students are breathing. Lee also proposed testing the air quality for 30 minutes at each location instead of 3 minutes, but he noted that this was probably not feasible, since we are testing 9 different locations, twice a day, with only one Dylos machine.

Starting this week, we are going to implement Lee’s suggestion and begin holding the Dylos in the “breathing zone” during the air quality tests. We are curious as to how this change will affect the data we get.