South Korean company LG Electronics has developed a battery-powered face mask to ensure fresh supply of air and address breathing complications.
The mask called PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier, comes with two air filters - similar to those used in home air purifiers - and a special case that disinfects the mask with ultra-violet light.
“At a time when consumers are seeking ways to make life safer and more convenient, it’s important that we are able to offer solutions that add measureable value,” Dan Song, president of LG Electronics, said.
“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 added.
The mask will be available in the fourth quarter of the year in select markets, according to the company. It did not disclose the price.
Wearing face masks or coverings has become a key mandate or recommendation of governments globally for people in public settings.
When properly worn, masks can stem the spread of the virus through the mouth by up to 90 per cent, according to a study by the University of Edinburgh.
The market of protective gear is booming and companies are increasingly becoming more innovative as they seek to capitalise on the growing opportunities. The global sale of disposable masks is set to increase to $166bn (Dh609.2bn) this year, from around $800 million in 2019, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
The global personal protective equipment market including masks, gowns and gloves is expected to balloon to $93bn in 2027 from $52bn last year, according to data specialist Statista.
LG’s new mask comes with dual fans that allow users to take in clean and filtered air. They are fitted with patented respiratory sensors that detect the cycle and volume of the wearer’s breath and adjust fan speed accordingly.
The fans automatically speed up to assist air intake and slow down to reduce resistance when exhaling to make breathing effortless, LG said.
“Designed based on extensive facial shape analysis, they fit snugly on the user’s face to minimise air leakage around the nose and chin. The design also makes it possible to wear the unit comfortably for hours on end,” it added.
They come with lightweight 820 milliampere hours battery that offers up to eight hours of operation in low mode and two hours on high.
The one-of-a-kind case can charge the mask and send notifications to Android and iOS mobile apps, when filters need to be replaced.
All components of the PuriCare Wearable – from the filters to the ear straps – are replaceable and recyclable, according to the company.
Environmentalists have raised concerns about increased pollution as a result of disposable single-use masks. About 75 per cent of used masks, as well as other pandemic-related waste, will end up in landfills, or floating in the seas. The UN Environment Programme estimates in addition to the environmental damage, the impact on tourism and fisheries is about $40bn.