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  • Writer's pictureAtchareeya Jattuporn

Assignment 3 : Dusty Cube

Updated: Jun 9, 2020

Inspiration & Ideation

Since 2018, Bangkok has been facing severe air pollution. Air pollution affects our health in the long term. I desired to encourage people to concern more about this problem. Nowadays, Wearing N95 Mask during the winter in Thailand became a new normal. Every day, I saw people posting an unhealthy air quality measurement of the air from the AQI app on their social media and complaining. Some of them even posted photos of their bleeding nose. However, the measurement in the app is only the average of the air quality in that area and the user could know the result while checking only. It would be great if we could measure the air quality in our place and knowing it without checking.

Dusty Cube is a device that visualizes the air quality in the room by measuring the amount of PM2.5 (tiny particles that has a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers) in the air. Inside the cube, there are tiny fiber optic cables placed in a shape of grass represented us as a living organism in a polluted circumstance. If the air quality is good the grass turn green. if not, they turned out to be more toxic colors.

The color of the grass illustrates the air quality level dividing into 6 distinct categories based on an air quality basics level.

Demonstration Video

Live Demo

Circuit and Code


- Arduino Uno

About the sensor

I bought this sensor from Adafruit. The sensor can measure particle size between 0.3 to 10 micrometers. The sensor came with its own breakout board. We can connect the sensor with Arduino using UART input. Adafruit also provides a hookup guide and code example for the sensor. This sensor can be used without a specific library and we can easily use it following Adafruit tutorial.



In this code, I set up the color of the light using Tom's ColorCoverter library from my light class to change the light color easily.

Fabrication Part


- Acrylic transparent cube 4x4 inch

- Black Opaque Acrylic sheet

- Frosted Acrylic sheet

- Stand-off

Sketch and Plan

I decided to make an enclosure with acrylic using a laser cutter. I divided the enclosure into layers. From the lowest level, there are the microcontroller and the circuit, lights, diffuser, fiber optic holder, and cover respectively. Each layer was stuck together by stand-offs or screws.

For making the grass, I decided to use the fiber optic cables to transmit the light from the Neopixels underneath. I have to say the hardest part of this project is to put a ton of fiber optic cable in place nicely.

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