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Brief Published: 12 Feb 2015

Scarab: Environmental Monitor

Scarab is a new wearable sensor platform that aims to create a "digital nervous system" for its users by collecting and tracking environmental data.

Created by US start-up Amulet Corporation, Scarab uses a small, beetle-shaped device that can be strapped to clothes or bags to collect data on the move.

Scarab collects readings every 100 metres from 16 embedded sensors, monitoring UV rays, gamma rays, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and liquid petroleum, as well as more everyday factors such as temperature, humidity and ambient light levels.

The data is sent to a mobile app via Bluetooth for analysis. Users are instantly alerted if any abnormal readings are detected, alongside any risk of long-term exposure.

"My device doesn't have a laser beam that can shoot out to eliminate these threats," says founder Scott Huyette. "But my belief is that there's a lot of power in prevention, and prevention comes from increased knowledge."

Scarab will also store all its data anonymously in the cloud, to create a community-wide database highlighting risk factors in specific neighbourhoods. Priced at $199, the device is due to go into production in June 2015.

Huyette predicts that within a decade, smartphones will be embedded with smart sensors of every kind. We noted the beginning of this at IFA 2014, where major tech brands showed sensor-embedded smartphones designed to transform devices into wellness hubs.

Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the health risks associated with poor air quality. Designers are creating innovative solutions to tackle the problem, from air-purifying bodysuits to pollution-ridding ceramic tiles. See Product Defence: Enhancing Wellness for more.