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Kiwi AI tech fights vaping

Kiwi AI tech company, MACSO is backed by a US venture capital firm to  tackle the increase of vaping in schools in New Zealand.

With the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, MASCO is detecting and measuring air impurities created from vaping and cigarette smoke, which will help reduce the act in New Zealand schools.

With a growing number of people under the age of 18 now vaping regularly, MACSO hopes this will help prevent adolescents getting addicted.

MACSO is partnering up with the US-based tech company Piera Systems to create hardware for their AI technology.

“As a purpose-driven AI company, dedicated to bringing the positive impact of artificial intelligence to the world, we are proud to be working with Piera on the mission to make schools vape and smoke-free to enable the next generation to study in a safe and healthy environment,” MACSO founder Saba Samiei says.

Originally, students could get away with masking the smoke using body spray, but MACSO and Piera’s partnership will be able to differentiate between the scents.

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“We looked at existing solutions, such as fire alarms or other vape detection sensors. We realised, fire alarms can’t detect vape particles – other sensors showed that they could be fooled if someone sprayed deodorant. We also noticed some approaches such as audio or video which are expensive and breach student’s privacy and are at high risk of getting hacked. So, we developed a model that can differentiate between what is deodorant, what is smoke, and what is vape. Applying this model to Piera aerosol sensors on the edge means the solution is cost effective and protects everyone’s privacy,” adds Samiei.

VP of Marketing and Customer Success at Piera, Raj Seelam says that the new tech will introduce a new level of accuracy detection and revolutionise the industry of vape detection.

The start-up first trialled their device in a bathroom at Cambridge Middle School a few months ago and within two weeks they were able to make that bathroom vape-free.

“Cambridge Middle School was delighted that the vaping activity ceased. Student Voice confirmed that students felt safer using the bathrooms,” Assistant Principal Natalie Marsh says.

With a backing of a US venture capital firm, MACSO hopes to connect with customers across the United States and the United Kingdom.

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