Design Engineering

Butterfly - Indoor Air Quality Monitor

Gabriele D'Amone
Design Engineering MEng
Dr David Boyle
Humanising Technology

Unfortunately, due to IP Protection and patenting implications, no images or detailed descriptions of the solution can be disclosed without an NDA.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) can impact the health and productivity of building occupants. However, current devices show poor accuracy and confusing readings communication. Butterfly is the first IAQ monitor with a computationally optimised sensing chamber, which enables superior airflow control and unparalleled sensing quality. A 90% faster response time enables occupants to be quickly alerted of unseen hazards through colour-coded acrylic wings. A modular system allows the sensing board to be replaced, ensuring long-term accuracy and easy maintenance. As the world recovers from Covid-19, Butterfly becomes a highly relevant project by providing the data needed to ensure safe and healthy indoor environments.

 — Butterfly - Indoor Air Quality Monitor


What seems like an engineering-focused project actually started from the Industrial Design stage. Because if designing an optimal sensing chamber is difficult, designing a chamber as part of a fully functional product is the real challenge this industry is facing.

In stage 1, several concepts were created and narrowed down to three main ones through a morphological analysis. In stage 2, these three concepts were then developed further and transformed into realistic CAD models, taking into consideration the environmental sensors’ dimensions and some early features for airflow management.

A traffic light chart was used to compare these three developed concepts and select the most promising one, a butterfly shaped device with edge-lit acrylic wings and a modular pocket to swap sensors.

In stage 3, the selected model was further developed into two main internal configurations for an early fluid dynamics study to compare their airflow performance.

The final, and longest stage of the project was the iterative CFD development, where the CAD model was iteratively revised, and assessed through simulations to maximise performance. 23 total iterations were developed.

 — Butterfly - Indoor Air Quality Monitor
Key methodology stages of the design process.


Laminar Flow

The final solution is Butterfly. The first IAQ monitor with a computationally optimised sensing chamber, enabling superior airflow control and unparalleled sensing quality. When a contaminant is introduced into the device, it takes a certain amount of time to distribute along all the sensors. Butterfly is the fastest responding device in the industry, with a 90% faster response time compared to current devices on the market.

 — Butterfly - Indoor Air Quality Monitor
Response time of sensing chambers (Butterfly vs competitor) after CO2 contaminant introduction at t=0.

What are the advantages of a considerably faster response time?

 — Butterfly - Indoor Air Quality Monitor
Advantages of fast response time compared to competitors.

Modular System

Butterfly is equipped with a modular board that can be replaced, completely removing the need to recalibrate or replace your monitor annually. This ensures long-term accuracy with incredibly low maintenance.

Data Visualisation

Butterfly utilises edge-lit acrylic technology to magically colour up the transparent wings and augment the users’ air quality perceptions.


With seven environmental sensors, Butterfly offers everything needed to improve building health and sustainability. As shown in the graph below, this project went through an extensive validation process, in order to get a clear 360 degrees overview of the product potential.

 — Butterfly - Indoor Air Quality Monitor
Validation summary of the project.

Investors Information

This project is currently looking for Series A funding and will soon be starting a commercial trial with Landsec in their new MYO space concept at London Victoria. If you’re an investor or you’re interested in learning how Butterfly can help your business, please contact [email protected] or [email protected].

 — Butterfly - Indoor Air Quality Monitor
Industry feedback on Butterfly.


No comments have been posted on this project yet.

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