IFA 2020 has been very different from any other year. I have not missed at all the very long and tangled corridors that connect the pavilions, but in that wandering between appointments sometimes you would come across funny, curious, interesting things …
Although sometimes those same things were exhibited on the stand of one of the greats. A couple of years ago it happened with LG . He took some of his exoskeletons to the fair . It is true that they were as a sample. They could not be touched nor was there a person in charge to show how they worked. But it was, at least for me, one of those curious and interesting proposals.LG announces an electronic mask for the end of the year
The same company announced shortly before the fair began another product that, in a normal IFA, would have attracted the press from half the world and guaranteed queues to see it, try it (if possible) and, of course, photograph it . That product was LG’s electronic masks, the PuriCare .
The full name is PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier and it is, as the name suggests, a personal and portable air purifier . It is a kind of futuristic film respirator, like a rigid face mask that almost tightly covers the wearer’s nose and mouth. The air circulates assisted by fans through grilles and HEPA level 13 filters . These types of HEPA filters, developed in the 1940s around the Manhattan Project, are designed to trap microparticles in suspension. Specifically, they are capable of retaining up to 99.95% of particles larger than 0.3 microns, including bacteria and viruses.
Nobody dares to speak of efficacy against the coronavirus, but, in theory, the PuriCare would be a bidirectional protection because both the air that enters and the one that leaves goes through the HEPA filters. But what happens to the particles trapped in those filters? What is the life of a basteria or a virus retained in that mesh of fibers? From LG’s headquarters in South Korea they answered very laconically ” the filters are replaceable ” (the filters are replaceable). I also asked about the existence of a study that endorses its results as a personal air purifier in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. The answer was not very helpful either: ” We’re waiting until further testing is complete before we’re able to share full details”(We are waiting until further testing is completed before we can share all the details).
What they have planned is a charging case equipped with an ultraviolet LED light that “kills harmful germs . ” The same case is responsible for sending a notification to the user’s mobile when they have to replace the filters.
The equipment works with a 820 milliamp battery that allows a maximum autonomy of eight hours depending on the work of the fans, since these are matched to the respiratory need of the user. We do not breathe at the same rate if we walk slowly or are sitting reading a book as if we run or carry a load.
Added to the many doubts that arise around PuriCare is weight . They have not communicated it, but we know that it has a battery, it is made with plastic elements, inside at least it has a motor for the fans, in addition to the fans themselves and a bluetooth communication chip, plus a battery charge controller . That has to weigh and you have to wear it supported on the nose and hooked to the ears. They say they have done a thorough analysis of the shape of the face and that it fits perfectly and can be worn without problems for hours.
Because of photography, I’m afraid that those of us who wear glasses are going to have it a bit complicated.LG announces an electronic mask for the end of the year
In addition to those future studies to check the effectiveness and test if it can be worn comfortably for hours, the price is up in the air and when it will be available. For now, they have anticipated that it will be available “from the fourth quarter of the year in some countries.”
One of the virtues of the Mo mask is that it adjusts very well to the face.
One of the virtues of the Mo mask is that it adjusts very well to the face.
Without reaching these electronic masks, both the João Lobo Antunes Institute of Molecular Medicine in Lisbon and the Spanish CSIC have developed techniques to manufacture masks in collaboration with commercial firms. The result has been the Mo and the CSIC Bioinicia .
The Portuguese ones were announced as the first textile face masks tested against the new coronavirus . Black or white in color, they are made up of four layers : a water repellent outer layer, antimicrobial protection , a high particle retention filter and a technical fabric to control humidity.
They have three advantages over the rest. For one thing, they are water repellent . On the other, it has protection against viruses and bacteria that has been tested even against Covid-19. And, finally, they resist up to 50 washes without losing the anti-bacteria retention below 90.2%.
It has at least four certifications. In Portugal, CITEVE has tested its capacity to hold 95% of particles and breathability up to 10 washes; in France, the DGE group certifies it with a retention of more than 95% of particles and breathability after 50 washes; Equilibrium, in Spain, has tested it for up to 90.2% retention with the same number of washes and is also certified by Oeko-Tex that it does not contain added chemicals during its manufacture.
In short, they state that it is healthy , effective (also against SARS-CoV-2), washable , allows breathing and can last 50 washes . It can be added (I have seen it on my own face) that it has a great fit.
Despite all this burden of certifications, and the price itself (it costs 10 euros ), it is not equivalent to an FFP2 mask, that is, it is not designed to protect in both directions. It would be equivalent to a hygienic one. In Spain, they are distributed in Eroski, although, as soon as an order arrives, they disappear and on the website itself the black ones appear as sold out.
The great contribution of the CSIC
Just one month after the announcement of the Portuguese company Mo, the first half a million CSIC masks manufactured by Bioinicia arrived. They do not have a name, but the support of the Higher Council for Scientific Research and the “Made in Spain” this time is having a positive effect. It seems that the fiascos in the first imports of PPE from China have left their mark.
In this case, they are FFP2 type masks , but there is a fundamental difference. Instead of entrusting the filtering to the traditional polypropylene (the Mo filter is also made of this material) of which China practically remained the only manufacturer, the CSIC companies use one made of nanofibers , a material they have been working on for several years.
Polypropylene performs its filtering action by electrostatic, while microfibers have a mechanical retention effect. For this reason, they remain effective for longer even when wet.
Being FFP2, its preferred user is health workers, security forces … but even if someone wants to buy them on the web, they will find a notice “Product NOT available”. The price that marks is 29.90 euros for the box of 10 units.
At this time, production capacity is limited. According to the CSIC itself, 800,000 units per month, but they expect a geometric increase in manufacturing starting in October with 11 million weekly masks.
The durability and retention capacity, and added the advantage that can be sterilized with an alcohol solution and shortly , will add an antimicrobial effect and be biodegradable , one of the adverse effects of the use of masks.