Surgical face masks are an increasingly common sight in cities like London where pollution levels are soaring.
But white cloth has its limitations; it wears out fast and does little to protect against many types of pollution.
There are alternatives, however. One of the latest masks set to go on sale is from O2O2, which promises much greater protection from dirty city air.
The contraption is made of transparent plastic and sits around the lower face region, filtering air through two fans on either side of users’ mouth.
CEO Dan Bowden told Engadget he thinks the clear shield is a major advantage over rubber rivals as it lets you see the faces of passersby.
But the mask’s biggest contribution to fighting air pollution is a smog sensor that relays air-quality data into a central repository.
The firm hopes the data will allow officials to map pollution across the city and take measures to combat it, while showing residents the areas to avoid.
The mask is only a prototype at the moment and O2O2 hope to make the design lighter and smaller before it is officially launched. It’s set to retail at around $100 (£74).
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