What is it?
Foobot is a smart air quality monitor for your home that talks to your phone and helps you take practical steps to improve what you're breathing.
What does it look like?
A contoured white rectangle with futuristic glowing lights at the front.
What does it do?
The quality of the air that we are breathing is a hot topic. Rarely does a day go past on the news without a story about "toxic" levels of pollutants in our cities and towns, and the harmful effects this has on our lives.
But if we know that the air outside is (often) polluted, what about the air in our home? That's the place many of us spend a great deal of our time - especially when you factor in sleeping for seven or eight hours a night.
Are you ensuring your house is well ventilated? Do you sleep in stuffy conditions? Could you improve the quality of your air by just being a little more conscious of what's happening around you?
Enter Foobot. Your home air quality monitor.
Once plugged in and given a few days to "adjust" to your house, Foobot immediately begins feeding back information on air quality to your phone via its app.
The device measures three main factors in your air - fine particles, volatile compounds and carbon dioxide. It gives an exact reading on each of these things as well as a quality score between excellent and poor on each of them. It also measures the room temperature and humidity levels and offers an overall air quality score between 1 (excellent) and 100 (poor). This is generally indicated by the cool coloured lights on the front of the main unit, which go from completely orange when the air is poor to completely blue when the air is great.
Where the app reads poor quality in a certain area, the device offers advice on what you can do to help improve the air quality. This ranges from ventilating the room, to thinking about what chemicals you use to clean it and considering how cooking, open fires and gas devices are being used in the home - and when.
The app can also be set up to send alerts to your phone when the air quality changes dramatically and inviting you to log the "event" so you can see what patterns of behaviour lead to pollution, and what you can do to change these patterns.
Foobot promises through careful monitoring of what's happening in the air around you to be able to assist in helping people with allergies, protect against mould developing in the house and even improve your sleep through cleaner air. Living with the device you can see how this could be true.
It really does make you think a little bit more about the air quality in the room. When you have the door closed and there are several people in it, quickly Foobot glows orange, open the door a little and you feel the freshness enter the room and the light glows blue again.
If you cook and don't close the kitchen door, it's not just the windows that steam up - Foobot reminds you that there's lots of particles in the air.
If there is too much humidity, Foobot warns you and you can take aversive action before mould begins to develop.
If air quality is your thing, Foobot really does the job - he can even connect to your personal assistant in your connected home.
What should you look out for?
The one minor downside with Foobot is that if you only have one unit it can only monitor air in that room. It's possible to move it, and to get extra devices, but obviously this requires a level of hassle or extra expense. However, if you place the device in the centre of the house in the main living areas you get a pretty good idea of what's happening - or if you want to monitor a particular room (say a child's bedroom) you can always move the device there temporarily until you get a feel for the air quality patterns.
What's the verdict?
This is a really useful device for a house that does what it's meant to do - accurately monitor and record your air quality.
It looks nice in the corner of a room and has simple yet detailed functionality that is well recorded on your phone or tablet.
For many it may seem like a fairly niche gadget, and in some ways it is - however, if you have allergies, or damp or just want to take a more active interest in how the air quality changes in your house (and believe me it does quite dramatically) then this is a device you will find useful for a very long time.