Finnish telecommunications giant Nokia filed last August a patent for “An apparatus for detecting carbon monoxide.” Nokia already has a product that measures air quality, the Withings Home. The Home detects volatile organic components and notifies the user if the level of such components is higher from a normal level.
The technical aspect, or how the Home measures air quality, is unknown, but Nokia describes in its patent that in the case of carbon monoxide presence a chemical based detectors changes colour. Also, there are active CO detectors that basically send a signal when CO oxidises to CO2 using an electromechanic cell. In case of chemical detectors, the downside is the need of regular inspection and are passive, but with active detectors we have a problem, because the need of calibration and may become inaccurate in sub-zero temperatures (Celsius).
Nokia patented a device that consists of an oxidation cell that turns CO to CO2 and a graphene based sensor that can precisely measure CO2, and later do the precise calculation of carbon monoxide levels in the air.
Compared to currently available CO detectors, a graphene based could be smaller, more precise, and easier to manufacture, because of graphene which is a next big thing in the industry.
With many patents, we often don’t see a real life usage scenario, but with this one, not only do we see a real life usage scenario, but also the final product where this technology could be used in. With the acquisition of Withings, Nokia decided to push the brand and technology in every aspect of people’s lives, including homes. A future version of Withings Home could come with a precise, graphene based CO detector. Graphene as a material is still not commercialized, but we are coming there. For years we have witnessed Nokia’s increased involvement in developing graphene based components, from smartphone batteries, camera sensors, and now CO detectors.
You can find all technical details in the Nokia’s patent here.