Via the South China Morning Post: Canadian start-up develops face-matching anti-pollution mask for China market. Excerpt:
A visit to a smoggy Tiananmen Square in Beijing served as the inspiration behind a Canadian start-up’s anti-pollution mask designed for the Chinese market.
O2 Canada was founded by University of Waterloo graduates as a more fashionable and more effective way for people to protect themselves from pollutants in the air.
“When we look at the current [masks], our studies in the lab have shown that these are not only very ugly but they’re also ineffective,” said Peter Whitby, chief executive officer of O2 Canada. “Air pollution is like water, it takes the path of least resistance so these nano pollutants find gaps and will enter the human body.”
The start-up is working with the university’s pollution expert, professor Zhongchao Tan, to develop biodegradable filters that it plans to license exclusively.
One of the features of the mask is how it forms a seal and does not allow pollutants to slip past the filters, however, after designing a prototype to fit a Caucasian face, the founders realised it was not suitable for the Asia face shape in their target market in China.
To overcome this, the start-up turned to research from Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University which had mapped 10,000 Chinese faces to create the average male and female facial features.
The O2 Canada mask works alongside an app warning users when particulate levels are high enough to demand protection as well as when to change the filters.
O2 Canada has launched a pre-order campaign on its website with masks priced at US$48. It plans to ship the product early next year.