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A pollution mask so sleek it debuted on the fashion week runways of New York and Seoul

One study found that O2O2’s pollution mask was 25 times better than three other masks at protection from dangerous particulates.

A pollution mask so sleek it debuted on the fashion week runways of New York and Seoul
[Photo: Jason Pietra; Stylist: Jessica Oshita at Halley Resources]

Check out all of our 2019 Innovation by Design winners and honorees here, and read more coverage of the winning designs here.

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O2O2’s revolutionary pollution mask looks nothing like the paper or fabric varieties currently on the market, and it doesn’t function like them, either. A study the company commissioned from the Auckland University of Technology found that O2O2’s mask was 25 times better than three other masks at protection from dangerous particulates. While currently just a prototype, Facewear made appearances on fashion-week runways in New York and Seoul this past year.

Universal Fit

With three different sizes, the mask is designed to fit 95% of the global adult population. The O2O2 team examined the facial morphology of Asians and Europeans to determine sizing for the greatest number of people.

Filtration

O2O2’s custom filtration system uses a nanofiber filter that employs electrostatic forces to pull tiny particulates from the air. The company says its system can clear the air of 99.8% of pollution, and each filter can last for about 300 hours of breathing time.

Fresh Air

Bluetooth-connected fans and sensors on each side of the mask pump 240 liters of clean air per minute to the wearer, enough to run a marathon.

Under Pressure

O2O2’s mask doesn’t require a seal: The side fans force filtered air inside the clear part of the mask, creating a pocket of higher-pressure air inside the mask, and a pressure differential keeps the outside air away from the person’s mouth and nose.

Sturdy Shield

The tubelike part of the mask is made from polycarbonate, the same material that’s used in hockey face masks.

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Warning Signals

Future versions of the mask will measure respiration rates to help diagnose conditions ranging from fatigue to sepsis. Sensors connected to an accompanying app will notify wearers when they’re entering a high-pollution area and should be wearing their mask.

A version of this article appeared in the October 2019 issue of Fast Company magazine.

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About the author

Katharine Schwab is the deputy editor of Fast Company's technology section. Email her at kschwab@fastcompany.com and follow her on Twitter @kschwabable

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