LG has unveiled a face mask with built-in fans and filters dubbed a ‘wearable air purifier’ – but hasn’t said whether it will protect the wearer from coronavirus.
The battery-powered PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier mask includes two H13 HEPA filters, similar to those used in home air purifying products.
The company says it also features dual fans and a respiratory sensor that can automatically adjust the fan speed in line with the wearer’s breathing speed.
LG hasn’t announced a release date or a price for its new product, but says it will enable the user to breathe clean air both indoors and outside.
While the firm hasn’t said whether it protects against Covid-19 it says it is designed to replace ill-fitting homemade face covers and disposable masks in short supply.
It hasn’t said exactly what the new air purifier mask will filter out, as LG says it is waiting for testing and certification before revealing any specific details.
The battery-powered PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier mask includes two H13 HEPA filters, similar to those used in home air purifying products
The company say is also features dual fans and a respiratory sensor that can automatically adjust the fan speed in line with the wearer’s breathing speed
The battery can last up to eight hours on a single charge, and the device comes with a case which houses UV-LED lights, which kill germs between uses.
The eight hours is a maximum though, and when the fan is operating in ‘low mode’. At the higher speed modes for more intense environments it can last up to two hours.
The two hours on high would be in an environment with a temperature of about 77 degrees Fahrenheit, and other factors such as pollution can reduce the time.
Like most modern wearable technology products, it also comes with a partner app and the mask can send it alerts to say when the filters need to be replaced.
LG said the mask could help solve the problem of homemade masks being of inconsistent quality and disposable masks being in short supply.
It hasn’t directly confirmed if it was built in response to Covid-19, but one executive said in July that the company would donate 2,000 of the masks to a university hospital in Seoul, to help medical staff cope with the pandemic.
LG said the mask could help solve the problem of homemade masks being of inconsistent quality and disposable masks being in short supply
There are no claims about using the mask to slow the spread of coronavirus in this latest announcement or whether the filters will stop the virus.
The firm told MailOnline it was waiting for certification and testing to be completed before giving full details about the protection the mask provides.
At the announcement of the final design, LG president of home appliances, Dan Song, said there were clear benefits to a reusable electronic mask.
HEPA: AN EFFICIENCY STANDARD FOR AIR FILTERS
High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) is a standard for air filters.
To meet the HEPA standard they must meet certain levels of efficiency including removing most particles over a certain size.
There are different classes of HEPA filters ranked based on how many particles they remove.
For example, HP13 requires it to remove an average of 99.95 per cent of particles and at least 99.75 per cent.
HEPA filtration works mechanically rather than using negative ions.
This means a HEPA filter is often better for people with conditions like asthma.
‘The PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier is an exciting addition to our growing line-up of products designed to deliver meaningful health and hygiene benefits,’ he said.
‘At a time when consumers are seeking ways to make life safer and more convenient, it’s important that we’re able to offer solutions that add measurable value.’
LG has used ‘extensive facial shape analysis’ to create the ergonomically designed mask to ensure it fits ‘snugly on the user’s face’.
This is required in order to minimise air leakage around the nose and chin, which could result in heavily polluted air – or possibly infected droplets – getting in.
The UV-LED light-equipped case is an important part of the design, as germs such as coronavirus can live on surfaces for varying amounts of time – which is why it is important to regularly wash or replace face masks.
According to LG, the case for this mask cleans away and kills harmful germs while the device is charging.
‘Because every component – from the filters to the ear straps – is replaceable and recyclable, it’s an environmentally responsible solution as well,’ the firm said.
The Korean tech giant is to officially reveal the mask during the IFA technology trade show in Berlin next week.
Other firms are also working on ‘wearable-tech’ face masks including a startup called UVMask that has raised $3 million on Kickstarter and claims to be able to protect from 99.99 per cent of air pollution, dust and airborne pathogens.
The US firm has now listed the product, which uses a UV-C sterilisation technology to neutralise bacteria, viruses and pollution particles, on Indiegogo.
It has been certified by SGS-Lab to protect the wearer from pathogens including E. coli and Staphylococcus – pathogens up to 20 times larger than Covid-19 and ‘much harder to kill’.