While pollution in the Middle Kingdom may be the most visible of complaints, worries about new furniture, a fresh coat of paint, and other renovations are an older elephant in the room. These concerns are so serious that a rumor linking child leukemia and home renovations (in Chinese) went viral recently. While the rumor was ultimately unfounded, Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOC or VOC) do pose serious health risks, including damage to the liver, kidney, and central nervous system. TVOC are carcinogenic compounds evaporated from paints or surface coatings that contain phenol–formaldehyde or urea–formaldehyde resin glues.

To help people better take control of their health, Beijing-based Kaiterra (rebranded from Origins) announced last week the Laser Egg 2+, a monitoring device that measures TVOC in addition to air quality. Laser Egg 2+ is the high-end version of Laser Egg 2, the recently-launched second edition of Kaiterra’s flagship product.

Laser Egg 2+ Image Credit: Kaiterra
Laser Egg 2+ showing a TVOC reading (Image Credit: Kaiterra)

“TVOC comes from inside the home, such as flooring and paints. When air pollution is bad, people may close the windows for several days which creates a problem,” Kaiterra CEO and co-founder Liam Bates said at the product launch for the Laser Egg 2 and 2+. “But to know when the windows should be opened or closed, you need both the TVOC and PM2.5 readings. The Laser Egg 2+ will provide a composite that takes the two readings into consideration.”

Laser Egg 2+ will enter a market full of Chinese and imported devices which also measure TVOC and PM2.5 air quality. However, the product stands out with its sleek design and focus on accuracy. The Laser Egg series uses laser-based light scattering technology that detects particles as little as 0.3µm. The sensors are sourced from Austria Mikro Systeme (AMS), a major gas and infrared sensor manufacturer, and have an accuracy of +/- 10%.

Apple HomeKit compatible Laser Egg 2
Apple HomeKit compatible Laser Egg 2 (Image Credit: Kaiterra)

The Laser Egg 2+ is slated for launch in July 2017 via an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign, but the Laser Egg 2 will be available from Kaiterra in late April.

The Laser Egg 2 is the world’s first PM2.5 air quality monitor to provide support for Apple HomeKit, counting itself amongst a handful of brands from China to have been successfully recognized by Apple, including Haier, Airmate, and Koogeek.

Kaiterra founders Liam Bates and Jessica Lam. Image credit: Forbes
Kaiterra founders Liam Bates and Jessica Lam. Image credit: Forbes

While Kaiterra is a young company (founded in 2015), founders Liam Bates and Jessica Lam have already been named to the 2017 Forbes 30 under 30 Asia: Expats list and have ambitious plans for the future.

“We hope to… solve the worldwide problem of air pollution. How to solve the problem? I think monitoring will be key. If you don’t monitor [and assess the problem], then you can’t solve it,” Liam said in fluent Chinese.

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Linda Lew

Linda Lew is a Beijing-based journalist who covers technology, start-ups and business in China. You can reach her at lindalew at aliyun dot com.

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