The Pollen G.P.S.
Wendy Fang
Moscrop Secondary
Floor Location : M 094 N

The fear of sudden allergy outbreaks and the feeling of not knowing which streets, alleys, or parks have high or low pollen concentration is the biggest concern for many during allergy season. Statistics show that more than one in six Canadians suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis. An allergy reaction occurs when the immune system overreacts and mistakes a harmless substance such as pollen and produces antibodies that attack the allergen. The intensity of an outbreak can range from being a minor runny nose to severe cases that even lead to death. During allergy season, starting from early spring lasting to late autumn, many people are intimidated about the prospects of walking outside or in worst-case situations to not be adequately prepared for sudden outbreaks.

To help with this problem, I designed and constructed a portable two part device (The Pollen G.P.S.) that can estimate the percentage of pollen in the air within a certain area. The first part of the device is a portable gadget that uses a DC motor to generate suction, which pulls surrounding air towards a pollen trap. The trap consists of a movable slide with a fine piece of Filet Net mesh fabric coated with a thin layer of petroleum jelly attached. Once the slide is contaminated with pollen grains, the sample is removed from the device and a picture is taken by a digital device with the aid of a x10 micro lens. The picture is then uploaded into the software, the second part of The Pollen G.P.S, where a particle count is made. With the data collected, a pollen concentration report can then be produced.

Although currently only a prototype, with this device people will be able to go about their business outdoors freely during peaks periods of the allergy season, knowing with a high degree of certainty whether or not pollen counts are high or low in the area. Users can become fully aware of the situation they are undergoing and more importantly be able to walk outside more care-free, knowing which areas are safe to venture into.