Public Lab Wiki documentation


4 | 27 | | #10357

What is it?

DustDuino can help individuals with limited resources monitor PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations, indoors or outdoors. It uses Shinyei PPD42NS, a $15USD optical sensor that uses an LED and a lens to determine the concentration of dust in a partially closed chamber that draws in air from its surroundings. The sensor data is received by an Arduino development board and transmitted to Xively. Prototypes of DustDuino have been successfully built and used in various indoor and outdoor locations.

Also see the Data Logging page for more on setting up and using different dataloggers, and for more tutorials.


Title Author Updated Likes Comments
How could we design a group activity around siting air sensors? @warren over 3 years ago 9
What do I do next, after using a low-cost or DIY air sensor? @warren over 3 years ago 5
How can I purchase dustduino sensor? @erumenig over 5 years ago 7
DustDuino available for sale @Najat about 6 years ago 1
Question: Put some dustduino in africa @Softconcept_Africa over 6 years ago 1
Updates needed to DustDuino DIY wiki @apacheguy almost 7 years ago 2
why PM10count relates to P2 rather than P1? @tomtobback over 7 years ago 4
Dustduino @Delia over 7 years ago 4
Question: Could this be used to monitor a construction site? @DustinBlock almost 8 years ago 1
Is the dustduino (with Shinyei sensor) appropriate for use to study particulates at high altitude (100,00ft)? @rickwoodrickle about 8 years ago 1
Is it possible to log the data from a dustduino without a wifi network? @kp55 about 8 years ago 3
Question: How much is the total cost? @emilabraham about 8 years ago 0
Could it be used on bikes to understand the air quality from cars @fatnotfossils over 8 years ago 1
Could it be used on bikess to understand the air quality from our precious machines (cars) @fatnotfossils over 8 years ago 0

Why make one?

The health effects attributed to outdoor fine particulate matter (PM2.5) rank it among the risk factors with the highest health impacts in the world, accounting for over 3.2 million premature deaths annually. In October 2013, the World Health Organization announced they consider particulate matter, a major component of indoor and outdoor air pollution, as a Group 1 carcinogen along with tobacco smoke and asbestos.

What can the DustDuino Do?

From the Data Quality Research Note

Test results indicate that DustDuino provides accurate and useful information, albeit of a somewhat limited scope and under certain conditions. An academic study which compared the Shenyei particulate matter sensor to costlier models used by governments, researchers, and companies found that this low-cost sensor produced results equivalent to much more expensive ones when analyzing data at hourly intervals.

Testing with reference monitors conducted in Berkeley, California in late 2013 concluded that the results of the low-cost sensor were about equivalent to much more expensive ones when analyzing data at hourly intervals. ”Performance at 1 [hour] integration times was comparable to commercially available optical instruments costing considerably more.”

Testing in high PM2.5 environments such as the city of Xi'an, China also has shown high correlations between the Shenyei and reference monitors. By setting up a variety of monitors throughout the city, researchers were able to identify the High-technology Zone site as a potential PM2.5 hotspot with sustained high concentrations compared to the city average throughout the day.

There are still some unknowns with regard to the sensor - for example, whether it needs to be co-located with higher-quality instruments for calibration, and whether it could be used in extreme environments. There are also some limitations - the sensor may not produce high-quality information at time intervals shorter than an hour,


Activities should include a materials list, costs and a step-by-step guide to construction with photos. Learn what makes a good activity here.



Research Notes

Title Author Updated Likes Comments
What do I do next, after using a low-cost or DIY air sensor? @warren over 3 years ago 5
Calibrating low cost air quality sensor part 2 @jiteovien over 4 years ago 1
Air Quality Data Visualization: No Coding Necessary @jiteovien over 4 years ago 3
Calibrating low cost air quality sensor (1/2) @jiteovien over 4 years ago 4
What different electronic particulate pollution sensors are available and at what cost? @warren almost 5 years ago 4
Visualize live sensor data with p5js and an Arduino @warren almost 5 years ago 10
Thoughts on Low Cost air quality sensors @guolivar about 5 years ago 11
How can I purchase dustduino sensor? @erumenig over 5 years ago 7
Re-posting 2016 Dustduino report @liz over 5 years ago 0
MACA - Open AQ monitor - Second prototype @nanocastro over 4 years ago 18
Dustduino potentiometer testing @imvec about 6 years ago 9
Measuring particulate matter from an airplane @bdebaque about 7 years ago 3
Building a DustDuino -- My first Arduino project @MeganKierstead about 7 years ago 0
Dustduino Build for the AMP project @LauraChipley over 7 years ago 2
Medições do Urbano - Cidade Eletronika 2015 @GSan over 7 years ago 0
HackeAr @GSan over 7 years ago 1
DustDuino Sketches @willie over 7 years ago 1
"Dust in the Wind: How Data Visualization Can Help the Environment" @stevie over 7 years ago 1
bubble-filled adventures in low-pressure airflow @mathew over 7 years ago 1
Dustduino @Delia over 7 years ago 4
Plan for recording Shinyei optical sensors using Open Pipe Kit @mathew over 7 years ago 14
Evaluating low-cost optical dust sensors @mathew over 7 years ago 23
DustDuino Data Quality @willie almost 8 years ago 1
A month-long series of webinars about sensor journalism @willie almost 8 years ago 2

DustDuino Sketches

The DustDuino board enables a variety of power, connectivity, and sensor configurations each of which require custom programming to process and send data. As the name would suggest, the DustDuino can be programmed with Arduino libraries and contributors to the project have made a number of Arduino sketches already. A full list of them is available on

Scientific Journal Articles

Title Author(s)
A distributed network of low-cost continuous reading sensors to measure spatiotemporal variations of PM2.5 in Xi'an, China; January 13, 2015 PDF LINK Meiling Gao, Junji Cao, Edmund Seto
Field calibrations of a low-cost aerosol sensor at a regulatory monitoring site in California; January 27, 2014. DM Holstius et al

External Tutorials

Website Overview
Mental Munitions The original documentation blog post
Earth Journalism Network- Civic Science & Sensors Program A project page reviewing EJN's sensor journalism pilot project

News Articles

Publication Title
Nature Environmental science: Pollution patrol
Scientific American Dust in the Wind: How Data Visualization can Help the Environment
Newsweek How Civic Science Is Changing Environmentalism