Air pollution is one of the biggest problems in the modern city, but the minds behind US startup Aō Air believe they've found a solution. At CES 2020, the company presented the Atmōs: a personal air filter created for "active urbanites in polluted megacities like Beijing and London".
Face masks are already popular in heavily polluted cities like Shanghai and Beijing, but they're not terribly effective – particularly once you've been wearing them for a while and they've become damp from your breath.
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The Atmōs, which has a distinctly Blade-Runner aesthetic, aims to solve that problem. It's essentially a transparent mask that sits over your nose and mouth, providing a bubble of clean, filtered air for you to breathe. It glows white when everything is working properly, and the light turns red when it's time to change the filters.
Fresh and filtered
After its debut on the show floor, Aō Air released the following fly-though video demonstrating its design:
As Engadget (opens in new tab) explains, the Atmōs draws in air from near your ears, passes it through a series of nano-fiber filters, and uses small fans to creates a pocket of clean air over your face.
The pressure means there's no need for a complete seal, so you won't need to worry about ending up with a damp face or a voice like Darth Vader. Adjustable pads at the back keep the device securely in place, and the nose pads can be moved for fit and comfort.
Protection from particulates doesn't come cheap though, and the Atmōs is currently available to pre-order for a breathtaking $350 (about £250, AU$500), with the first batch expected to ship in July.
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