How PurpleAir is Making Air Quality Monitoring Accessible


After attending a conference, our founder, Branden Christensen, stumbled upon an exciting discovery. PurpleAir, an innovative air quality technology company that shares our passion for making technology and data accessible to everyone.

Just as Raspberry Shake is dedicated to tracking and monitoring earthquakes and other seismic activity, PurpleAir is committed to tracking and monitoring air quality. In this blog post, we’ll highlight the impact of PurpleAir, the work they’re doing in the community, and how our two networks aim to create a better understanding of the world around us.

Who is PurpleAir?

Air quality is a crucial factor for our health and well-being, especially in urban areas where pollution levels are often high. But how can we measure and monitor air quality effectively and affordably?

That’s where PurpleAir comes in. PurpleAir is an air quality company that produces low-cost, highly precise air quality monitors that anyone can use. Thanks to their devices, everyone from elementary students to academic researchers can learn more about the air quality around them through hyper-local data, and their publicly accessible real-time PurpleAir Map.


” PurpleAir is committed to making air quality data and monitoring technology accessible to everyone, empowering individuals and communities to take charge of their air quality and make a positive impact.” – Adrian Dybwad, CEO of PurpleAir.


PurpleAir was founded by Adrian after he noticed excessive amounts of dust from a gravel pit near his home in Salt Lake City, Utah. He wondered how to measure the dust, so the community could address the issue. However, no existing residential outdoor air quality monitors were affordable. Undeterred, Adrian took matters into his own hands and began building air quality monitors himself, paving the way for the creation of PurpleAir.

With his background in electronics and engineering, Adrian created the first PurpleAir monitor in his kitchen towards the end of 2015. Soon after, friends joined in, and together they assembled sensors out of his garage and distributed them to the communities.

Through word of mouth, PurpleAir monitors gained popularity, and what started small has grown into a global air quality sensor network of over 30,000 sensors in more than 100 countries. PurpleAir is empowering policymakers, activists, and community organizations to take air quality back into their own hands.

In the last few years, PurpleAir has partnered with various organizations and communities to raise awareness and take action on air quality issues. For example, air quality technology is being used by:

  • Vineyards in California and Oregon to monitor smoke and particulate matter levels so they can take steps to prevent the damage caused by wildfires.
  • Researchers in India, Europe, and Africa to study the effects of air pollution on the health of citizens and the local environment.
  • Museums in New York and London to preserve their artwork from deterioration caused by indoor air pollutants.
  • Schools and universities around the world to educate students and teachers about air quality and community science.

PurpleAir and Raspberry Shake share common values and a similar start in life. Raspberry Shake was launched in 2016 under Branden Christensen’s stewardship. The Raspberry Shake team’s innovative approach remains motivated by his passion to spread the love for seismology to ever broader audiences. Thanks to their efforts and support from the Community, Raspberry Shake has grown into the largest real-time streaming seismic network in the world, with devices deployed on every continent.

“Citizen science driven projects, like PurpleAir, empower hobbyists and professionals alike to contribute in new and meaningful ways to science while sparking our curiosities to explore the world and have fun in the process.”

– Branden Christensen, Founder and Business Steward at Raspberry Shake.


According to the WHO, over 99% of the world is breathing high levels of air pollution. Particulate matter, in particular, has numerous negative health effects that can be prevented by knowing your air quality and taking steps to reduce exposure.

Air pollution has improved since various clean air acts have been implemented, such as the US Clean Air Act in the 1970s, but there is still work to be done.


PurpleAir air quality monitors use laser sensors to measure the concentration of particulate matter (PM2.5) in the air. PM comes in various sizes, but the defining characteristic of PM2.5 is that the particles are small enough to be inhaled deep into the lungs, ending up in the blood stream. They can cause serious health problems, such as asthma, heart disease, and cancer. PM2.5 can come from various sources, such as wildfires, dust storms, vehicle emissions, industrial activities, household activities, and more.

PM2.5 is one of the most common indicators of air quality, and that’s what PurpleAir devices measure. PM2.5 refers to particles that are 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, while PM10 refers to particles that are 10 micrometers or less in diameter. The smaller the particles, the more likely they are to penetrate deep into the lungs and cause respiratory problems.

Additionally, PurpleAir monitors can also measure other parameters, such as temperature, humidity, and pressure. All these data points are transmitted wirelessly to the PurpleAir Map, which is a real-time, interactive map showing air quality levels around the world. You can access the PurpleAir Map easily in your browser to observe data from tens of thousands of PurpleAir monitors. 

“Our goal is to empower individuals and communities to take action on air quality issues. By providing affordable and reliable air quality monitors, PurpleAir enables informed decision-making and positive change.”

– Adrian Dybwad, Founder at PurpleAir.

Because PurpleAir believes in making air quality accessible, their air quality monitors are easy to install and use. You just need a power source and a Wi-Fi connection to get started. Plus, their devices are available for both indoors and outdoors, depending on the model. They connect to the internet via Wi-Fi and send data to the PurpleAir Map, where you can see the current and historical air quality data for your location and thousands of others around the world. You can also access the PurpleAir API to download and analyze the data for your own projects.

The PurpleAir map uses a color-coded Air Quality Index (AQI) to indicate how healthy or unhealthy the air is. The PM2.5 AQI is calculated based on the PM2.5 levels and ranges from 0 to 500, with higher values indicating worse air quality. On the PurpleAir Map, the default standard is the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) PM2.5 AQI and you can choose from other standards from different countries or regions.

Sharing Visions: Our Community-Driven Networks

Like Raspberry Shake, PurpleAir is a community-driven project. Both PurpleAir and Raspberry Shake encourage individuals to actively participate in their networks. By acquiring a PurpleAir monitor or a Raspberry Shake seismograph, anyone can contribute valuable data to help create a more accurate and comprehensive understanding of air quality and earth motion worldwide. Together, we can make a significant impact in enhancing our knowledge of the world we live in.

At Raspberry Shake, we share PurpleAir’s vision of making science accessible and fun for everyone. We also believe in the power of community and collaboration to create positive change.

PurpleAir and Raspberry Shake are two examples of how technology can make science more accessible and fun for everyone. Both companies are shaking up their industries by providing low-cost, high-quality devices that anyone can use. We are also building global communities of citizen scientists to help further scientific research and improve our understanding of air quality and seismic activity.

Together, PurpleAir and Raspberry Shake exemplify how passion, innovation, and community collaboration can drive significant advancements in monitoring and understanding our environment.

If you are interested in joining the PurpleAir network, you can order a PurpleAir monitor from their website. You can also check out their real-time map, blog and social media to learn more about their collaborations and initiatives.

If you are not already a Shaker and are interested in joining the Raspberry Shake network, you can order a Raspberry Shake device now or by clicking on the “Shop Now” button above.

We look forward to seeing you on the map! Happy shaking and breathing!

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