Month: August 2022

UConn Indoor Air Quality Initiative, Funded Through Cryptocurrency, Works to Protect Schools from Spread of COVID-19

two people preparing an air purifierCOVID-19 cases may be falling, but the virus is still a very real concern for many parents sending their children back to school. UConn researchers are working to ease those worries by building do-it-yourself air purifiers to improve health in schools and other crowded settings. The Indoor Air Quality Initiative, which has already made an impact in Connecticut, is growing, thanks to a generous donation.

The initiative has received a $300,000 grant, funded through cryptocurrency, from Balvi, an investment and direct giving fund established by Vitalik Buterin, the co-creator of Ethereum. Ethereum is a technology for building computer applications and organizations, holding assets, transacting, and communicating without being controlled by a central authority. Balvi was established for the purpose of deploying funds quickly to high-value COVID-19 projects that traditional institutional or commercial funding sources tend to overlook.

“Improving the quality of indoor air is a key tool for dealing with covid and future pandemics without any disruption to normal life,” says Buterin. “We are excited to support grassroots initiatives to improve air quality in schools and other public venues.”

The donation will allow UConn to expand the project’s reach and add to the more than 400 purifiers already in schools, libraries, shelters, and other locations throughout the state.

Read More @ UConn Foundation

A Viral Sensation

DIY air filterWhen Dr. Richard Corsi floated an idea on Twitter for a highly effective, inexpensive, DIY air purifier to help lower the risk of Covid, his light-bulb moment went viral in the best possible way. Now many of America’s top scientists—and even the White House—are touting the invention, and people all over the planet are thinking inside the box.

T​​his story started, as so many do, with something small. In this case, magnitudes smaller than the period at the end of this sentence—a tiny droplet carrying the SARS CoV-2 virus.

It all began on Jan. 20, 2020, when environmental engineer and air quality expert Dr. Richard Corsi, the man at the center of this particular story, tweeted out a BBC article about a “new virus in China” that by that point had led to only two confirmed deaths. But Corsi could read between the lines and commented on the news with these five prescient words: “This deserves the world’s attention.”

By February, concerned that the virus could be airborne, Corsi dropped his routine of going to the gym six days a week and stopped taking public transportation.

The story got bigger from there—much bigger.

A lifelong academic specializing in air quality, Corsi was especially concerned about the ability of cash-strapped schools to protect their students and faculty. In July, as students prepared to return to school, his concern grew considerably, and he tweeted: “Public K-12 schools serve as a place to work or learn for more than 15% of the total population of the United States each year. IMHO, they are THE critical ‘business’ to watch during re-opening in the fall. I’ve worked w/ many school districts and know how resource-constrained they are and, in many cases, strained in terms of facilities staff. This gives me gr8 concern. If not done right the educational, health & econ impacts could be devastation on top of current devastation.”

Read More @ Sactown Magazine