5 days before the end of its Kickstarter campaign, and with £41,141 already in the bank (£35,000 were asked), it is now certain that Air Halo is going to see the light of the day. But How is it going to make us safer? Is the technology behind it reliable?
Why a Pocket Air Purifier?
Dr.Herman Tsui went back on why he created this personal germ-free “bubble” device. In 2003 when SARS (standing for severe acute respiratory syndrome) hit Hong Kong and south China, killing 774 people. He felt helpless in the wake of this epidemic, against which there were no real solutions available on the market. He felt compelled to change that fact.
How Does It Work?
Air Halo create a field that ionize the surrounding air, killing any biological agent trying to get through the barrier while pushing clean air toward your face. The protected area is about 1 cubic meter around the device. So it is necessary to keep it close. The following video explains it in more details:
A Public Safety and Health Project
The technology developed by Doctor Tsui wasn’t the kind of thing you could carry with you. It was first made to insure buildings were sanitized. The idea came to him when he was talking with a friend who was frustrated by the lack of options available when it came to protect yourself from germs in transportation.
The concept then started to flourish in his mind. It is a real issue. Portable protection could greatly improve the traveling experience, which is perhaps the most precarious one when it comes to germs. Also unprotected buildings could benefit from it. Additionally, the economy of scale could have an important part to play here: reducing the price for each unit while simultaneously mutualizing protection for everybody.
Trains, planes and other types of “public” transportation are massively shared confined space. Not only is the cabin a great place for germs to spread, but they help them to reach new, untouched areas. This Phenomenon is especially the case for international flights. Our lifestyles and working imperatives cannot be changed easily in case of trouble, that is why we need innovations such as this to help our society to manage the risk. In a modern and connected world such as ours, there is no local epidemics, they all have the potential to spread across borders.
Note: What we are talking about here is a protection against germs. Air pollution is another matter entirely and requires different technologies such as air filters, which must be clean very regularly.
Bottom Line: Do I Need it?
If you are a tech enthusiastic as I’m, you are already burdened by quite a few devices (PC, Tablet, Phone only to name a few), then is it absolutely necessary to carry yet another? Wouldn’t this air sanitizer bring you curious look from your co-workers?
What I think is that, Air Halo is a keep-somewhere-until-you-need-it kind of item. You know, just in case. But all-in-all it is NOT an eye-sore, its sleek design makes it much closer to the coffee mug than to the sanitary mask. And when the next big scare comes along the only question you’ll be hearing will be: “Where can I get one?”
Now comes the question of its performance. What if the wind blows hard? What if someone sneeze all over me? Obviously the perfect protection isn’t (and possibly will never) be here quite yet. But thanks to technologies such as this one we are one step closer, and hopefully it opens the way for even more efficient devices in the future. Linked to our smart watch and phones perhaps?