It looks like a new hardware arms race is upon us. I am not talking about consumers rushing to buy GPU’s to mine cryptocurrencies in their parent’s basement: masks are the new hot tech (for obvious reasons).
LG has announced a yet unavailable air purifying mask that you strap to your face. They are calling it the PuriCare™ Wearable Air Purifier.
Considering 2020 is anything but normal, it seems fitting that LG would release a face mask to help continue the 2020 dystopian theme we all find ourselves embedded in. This looks like something out of Dune or a movie about a highly-infectious virus turning people into zombies.
Allegedly it will be able to last up to eight hours and two hours at its highest setting. I do wonder what the difference is between the two, is it less effective at the lower more efficient setting?
The press photo that LG released being heavily Photoshopped does not inspired confidence in the product. If you look at not on the carefully groomed model with background bokeh, you notice it is two rubber loops that go around your ears.
Maybe it works well like this, but I can’t see how this wouldn’t force your ears to protrude out from the side of your head and if the load is very front-heavy, wouldn’t it just have the same problems (possibly worse) as traditional masks worn for extended periods of time?
The real question here is, why loops instead of straps and some kind of counterweight, similar to how VR headsets work? I know battery tech is getting good and all, but two filters, two fans and a battery in a plastic mask with ear loops? Sounds painful to me.
Pondering the question as to why LG designed their mask this way and after a little research into face masks, I made a discovery. It appears that LG has possibly stolen this concept from an IndieGoGo project called ATOMOBLUE.
I mean, damn… It looks like LG took some serious liberties when they created their mask. They look somewhat identical. The difference between the two is subtle design differences and the strap (which ATMOBLUE says they have patented).
Regardless of the potential IP theft here, inspiration or whatever you want to call it, I like the idea of a purifying face mask. Admittedly, I don’t think these two look that bad and if the price were right for the LG mask, I would definitely consider it.
There is a great opportunity here for LG or someone else to take the wearable air purifier concept and expand upon it by adding in fun features like voice changing so you can sound like Bane or Darth Vader. I would love it if third-party sellers came to the table and offered skins, allowing you to look like Bane and hopefully, sound like him too.
The real question I have in all of this is, where is Dyson? When it comes to fans and air purifying, Dyson has been one of the strongest innovators in the segment and as far as I am aware, an air-purifying face mask isn’t even on their radar. Although, Dyson did patent some strange concept of headphones with air purifiers built into them (which I hope never sees the light of day).