The Aegis Pollution-Sensing Parka is a garment that warns its wearer that pollution is present which could be harmful. It uses sensors to check for the presence of several different pollutants and then illuminates light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to alert the wearer. Wouldn’t it be nice if a building could alert its occupants that pollutants were present that could pose a hazard. Obviously, the methods used in the Aegis Pollution-Sensing Parka would not work here. It would be very complicated and expensive to blanket a building with enough sensors and LEDs to provide adequate coverage.
Instead, what if a similar warning could be obtained chemically? Perhaps a material could be developed that would change visually, maybe changing color, when pollutants were present. Such a material, added to paint, would enable the walls themselves to monitor air quality. If any area of a building posed a hazard, the walls in that area would discolor to alert occupants to the problem.
While it appears that such a material does not currently exist, it would definitely be worth pursuing. Maybe it would be possible to develop such a material. If it turned out to be too expensive to be used throughout an entire building, it could be used in specific locations. Areas like the entrances to a building from parking garages might be good places to monitor.