Respiray develops air-purifying collar for allergy sufferers
Health tech company Respiray has launched a wearable air purifier designed to fend off allergens by creating a "bubble of clean air" around the user's face.
Worn around the neck like a collar, Respiray's Wear A+ device filters out irritants such as pet dander, dust, pollen and mould, and instead blows clean air towards the wearer.
Respiray claims the device has been tested in several clinical trials and shown to reduce allergy symptoms such as sneezing, nasal congestion and watery eyes.
The Estonian company created the device to offer a drug-free way of managing symptoms in indoor environments such as the home or office, while also keeping the nose and mouth free so users can eat, drink and stay comfortable for longer.
"Having personally experienced the challenges of airborne allergies, I understand the significant impact this condition can have on one's quality of life," Respiray CEO Karl Gustav Annus told Dezeen.
"With over 400 million people worldwide affected by allergies, it's clear that many existing remedies such as antihistamine medications are often insufficient and can have side effects such as drowsiness."
Respiray created the device as a follow-up to the wearable air purifier, which the company developed to provide protection from airborne viruses during the coronavirus pandemic.
Following feedback from customers that the product was too heavy and bulky, the Wear A+ was designed to be three times smaller and lighter, weighing in at 250 grams.
The hardware was designed in-house by Respiray's product designer Annamaria Rennel, with the focus placed on aesthetics and ergonomics, along with the optimisation of airflow and speed to create an allergen-free zone around the user's face.
"Throughout the design process, we asked ourselves a key question: if we don't want to place something right in front of the user's face, how can we maximise its effectiveness from a distance," Annus said.
"This question guided every aspect of our design, from the placement of the outlet holes in relation to the mouth and nose to their shape and arrangement, which ensured that the user's bubble of clean air was maintained even when they turned their head."
Wear A+'s design features include an adjustable magnetic strap and an indicator light that lets the user know when to replace the HEPA filter, which is usually after about 200 hours.
The device is designed for indoor use only as outdoors its fans will be overpowered by the wind – "unless you are enjoying a cup of hot chocolate on your terrace on a completely breezeless day", Annus said.
Respiray says the device was found to be effective in clinical tests by the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation and laboratory tests at SGS Michigan.
In its own trial of more than 200 participants, the company found that the Wear A+ helped 90 per cent of people to overcome or reduce their airborne allergic reactions.
Many of Respiray's competitors in wearable air purification have more obtrusive designs, such as the Puricare face mask by LG and the Dyson Zone headphone visor, which news outlets have branded "bizarre" and "dystopian".