Smog in the air in Beijing, haze (and other things) in the skies in Singapore – it seems like the very air we breathe in certain parts of Asia has turned downright hostile to human lungs. The broader implications of this reach pretty biblical proportions, but let’s concentrate on the current problem at hand: being unable to draw a breath without fear of our insides rebelling. Luckily, quite a few startups are working on ways to help us breathe a little easier.
Laser Egg by Beijing-based Origins Technology is a monitor that keeps you up to date about the air quality in your chosen space and looks damn good doing it. While it has a killer name, it’s a bit unclear what an egg has to do with air quality. Well, this is where the laser comes in; Laser Egg uses a method called light scattering, in order to be able to measure air quality quickly and accurately. It doesn’t require a smartphone, as it displays relevant information on its own small screen, but there’s an accompanying app nonetheless, which can show you places around you where the air is fresh and clean.
Breezometer hails from Israel, and it has developed an app that keeps you up to date on outdoor air quality in various parts of your city. It gives you real-time info on any area of the city you wish, or even the entire country (sadly, it’s only available in Israel, China, and the US at the moment). In addition, it makes recommendations based on the levels of pollution so you can plan around it – you don’t need haze creeping up on you while you’re on your morning jog, after all.
Air monitors and prevention notwithstanding, sooner or later you’re going to have to brave the haze outside. A protective mask is usually your best bet if you don’t want a lungful of particulate, ash, and general unpleasantness. But let’s face it – none of us looks particularly fetching with one of those on. Vogmask is one startup that feels protection and style can go hand in hand, and thus has created a series of filtering masks that are both stylish and efficient. Its masks filter out PM 2.5 particles, dust, germs, pollen, and other airborne contaminants, and at the same time look good enough for the runway – so much so that they were featured in 2014’s Hong Kong Fashion Week.
Based in Hong Kong, uHoo has made a stylish and discreet air monitor that checks the atmosphere in your house or workplace for particulate matter (such as dust or smoke), airborne chemicals, humidity, and carbon dioxide levels. If it finds anything too worrying, it shoots a notification to the accompanying smartphone app, letting you know there’s something in the air. The gadget doesn’t have an air purifying function, as its purpose is mostly awareness and prevention. uHoo is currently in production and looking to launch in Q4 2015.
What? Xiaomi? Why yes. The hardware dynamo has its finger on the air pollution space as well, with its Mi Air Purifier. It works with Xiaomi’s Smart Home app, which is pretty much a hub for all of the company’s smart devices, and shows you the air quality outside and within your home, before working diligently to improve it. Xiaomi’s familiar tack of solid build quality and low price make this a pretty good solution if you’re looking to do something about the air in your home.
Now if only someone could come up with a way to blow all that smog and haze off into space or something. Mr. Musk, any ideas?
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