Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Personal CO2 bubble: Context-dependent variations and wearable sensors usability


High CO2 concentration in inhaled air has been shown to negatively impact work performance and increase acute health symptoms. As respiratory CO2 is constantly exhaled, it may not dissipate in surrounding air in absence of adequate air movement and is instead re-inhaled into the airways (breathing in a CO2-rich bubble). In this study, we explored the impacts of context-dependent factors such as office activities, desk settings, and personal differences on the inhalation zone CO2 concentration and on concentrations at a below-neck wearable sensor. While all factors were found to significantly impact measurements at both measuring points, desk settings (empty desk, desk with a fan, desk with laptop, desk with monitor) was found to be the most dominant factor. Presence of a small portable desk fan was found to significantly reduce the CO2 concentration. On average, we observed a 177 ppm reduction in CO2 concentration when using a fan, which is 25 ppm higher than the background CO2 measurement (650 ppm). Among 41 test subjects, we found distinct relationships between the inhalation zone CO2 concentration and the wearable sensor measurements and, by applying a hierarchical clustering algorithm, we found 4 clusters of relationships. While below-neck wearable sensors could be used as an exact measure of inhalation of CO2 concentration for 29% of the subjects, we identified a boundary point (917 ppm) separating high and low inhalation zone CO2 concentration measurements.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View