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LG’s feature-packed face masks may not come with bells and whistles, but they certainly include respiratory sensors, UV lights, and fans.
In most states, face masks have become an essential part of everyday life. As of February, 35 states have mask mandates.
Why? Because several studies indicate that wearing a face mask is the best way to limit the spread of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that masks are worn in public settings while the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has advised that workers wear masks to reduce the virus’ transmission.
Despite the protests of anti-maskers, it’s likely that wearing some form of face covering will remain advisable in public areas for the foreseeable future. With the rising demand for high-functioning face masks already inspiring organizations to innovate, it’s only a matter of time before smart masks become the norm.
LG is one company that’s ahead of the smart mask curve. Last year, in the run-up to the IFA trade show, LG announced its plans to launch an air-purifying face mask – the PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier.
The mask serves as a better quality, sustainable, and more readily accessible alternative to disposable medical masks and those made from materials such as cotton or silk.
How Do LG’s Purifying Masks Work?
The PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier is part of LG’s PuriCare line, a range of air purifiers and dehumidifiers designed to improve air quality in the home. The mask’s technology has been adapted from LG’s home air purifier products to work on a smaller scale and fit onto the face.
Made entirely from recyclable material, the wearable looks no different from a standard face mask. But LG’s mask is equipped with an 820mAh rechargeable battery that enables it to function as an air purifier for between two and eight hours. The product’s casing is fitted with a battery charger and UV-LED lights, which kill any harmful germs collected on the mask.
Each side of the mask has a replaceable HEPA filter, which allows for a supply of clean air to pass in and out of battery-operated fans. A respiratory sensor monitors the wearer’s breathing cycle, including the volume of their breath and when they are breathing in and out, and adjusts the fan’s speed as necessary to make breathing feel effortless.
“The PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier is an exciting addition to our growing line-up of products designed to deliver meaningful health and hygiene benefits,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solution Company. “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 claims the filters could remove as much as 99.97% of particulates in the air, including particulates as small as 0.3 microns.
Can LG’s Mask Help Slow the Spread of the Coronavirus?
LG has been cautious to make no claims regarding the mask’s ability to better protect its wearers against the coronavirus or state that the product was designed in direct response to the pandemic.
Instead, the company’s press release states that the air-purifying masks serve as a replacement for homemade and disposable masks, which are not consistent in their quality and have frequently been in short supply.
It’s also unclear whether the masks can filter the air that goes out of the masks as well as the air that comes in through the filters. The CDC does not advise wearing “masks with one-way valves or vents” because respiratory droplets exhaled through holes in the material can reach others, failing to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus.
It remains to be seen if this high-end, high-tech mask will provide as good an ROI as an average medical-grade face mask.
Image Credit: Image courtesy of LG