We built Ambee at an IoT hackathon, at the Amazon Development center in Bangalore. We won the hackathon, but little did we know that our lives were about to change.
We had used LinkitOne Grove starter Kit and MediaTek on an Arduino board. Ambee had an AQI sensor (Air Quality sensor), CO sensor, Temperature & Humidity, Dust, Noise, and UV sensor hooked to a Bluetooth and a Wifi module to send data to our web server that would show all of this data on a web application that housed a nice looking dashboard. We then had designed an amazing mobile dashboard that you can still see on our webpage even to this day.
A quick preamble
This was 2 years ago. I and my family had relocated recently moved to Bangalore and were living on the outskirts of Electronic City. As a family, we slowly started picking up cough, cold, breathing issues and my 6-month-old son was also fighting it out. Numerous doctor visits would only yield temporary relief for him, and the sickness would return with a bang next time in about a few days.
We used to wonder what caused this persistent cough and cold. We did not know what was going on. It was debilitating for my son and also painful for us, parents to see him suffer all through the night. Even the pediatrician prescribed medicines that are usually administered to Asthmatic children. He hinted we could be taking that route and it was scary.
One day around 3 AM after my son managed to sleep amidst the respiratory congestions, I was emotionally wrecked. Not knowing what to do I came back and connected this device to the internet and started to fiddle with it. I left it hooked up to the server and had missed disconnecting it for about 3 days. But what I saw after 3 days was disturbing and eye-opening. The location where we lived saw a rise of PM2.5 and AQI from 3 AM till about 9 AM and it would gradually go down. This clearly showed up on the dashboard!
Little did I realize then that THIS was what was causing all the cold and cough and it was all turning worse. Cutting the story short, a few days later, my childhood friend, who is also a Doctor, Dr. Arjun, suspects it could be the bad air quality and calls me in intrigue that the PM2.5 could be the cause of all the cough, cold and wheezing that housed in my family, especially my son.
We scouted the area and we figured there is a Garment factory that burnt something every day in the morning to produce textile and keep it ready when their workforce came to work at 9 AM. That was what was affecting us and hundreds of other children and their families living around.
I couldn’t help all of them then, but I moved out of that location. I like to quote that I used Ambee to look for a house that was free of PM2.5 and had good Air Quality.
Fast-forward 24 months, Ambee helped save 3 other kids, spoke to 300+ people ranging from all ages 18+ to 80 years, including new mothers, working middle-aged people, and the retired older generation too. 66% of them wanted to purchase Ambee and they believed this is a huge problem.
Many things pointed towards the huge problem of the crisis our environment is in with deteriorating air quality and affecting the health of men, women, and children. Some young kids suffer from irreparable respiratory disorders. There are 82.5 million mothers in India alone with children under the age of 8 who suffer from Asthma due to air pollution. 600 million children die in this world due to this. 52% of Americans live in dangerously polluted air and about a million of them die, around 10 million of them continue to suffer.
While many people I spoke to had different things to say and promise, I had to meet the right ones now to take it all from here. This problem became my cause, and I met Akshay and Jaideep who joined hands with me to solve this problem. Thus Ambee was born.
This became a mission to predict air quality density, pollution, the impact of it on people, especially children, and also to influence human behavior, alert them of the effects of human activity on air and how we can all come together to make it better, for ourselves and the next generation
Today we have a product that tells you about the air you breathe and an air purifier that works automatically and keeps the ambiance around you clean and pure.
We firmly believe we can drive a behavior change, give information to people, alert them, and that became our tagline – know better, live better.
I hope to share a lot more about us as we go, please keep watching this space as we share every major step of our journey. Thank you for reading.