Aō Air sees clean air as an expensive luxury in a time of climate change

It’s slightly dystopian but also very relevant, given the current state of the world. At CES earlier this week, Aō Air unveiled its new Atmōs Faceware, a $350 designer air filter which helps protect wearers from airborne pollutants.

Atmōs Faceware
Aō Air’s Atmōs Faceware gives users clean, filtered air. Photo: Aō Air

Last year it was California, this year it’s Australia. Images of the enormous forest fires currently sweeping the country have been all over the news.

Unfortunately, images like these will be more and more common in the years to come as climate change proves its disbelievers horribly wrong.

But as climate change continues unimpeded, technology also continues to progress. Seemingly not enough to actually do anything about our need for massive societal change. Instead, CES 2020 has brought us Aō Air’s designer air filter, an accessory for fashion conscious individuals who also want to breathe clean air.

Aō Air’s Atmōs Faceware

The great thing about CES is that there’s always new, bizarre technology on show. And this year is no different.

American company Aō Air showed off a new product which looks to take the humble air filter to the next level.

Using face masks to filter air is by no means a new idea. In Asia in particular, people wear face masks throughout the day to stop the spread of germs and protect against airborne pollution.

Face mask
Face masks are increasingly popular in big cities especially in the East. Photo: ElizabethViera via Wikimedia Commons

But Aō Air’s Atmōs differs from the standard face mask in practically every way.

Firstly, Aō Air’s high-tech air filter features a large mouth piece which is designed to actively filter air, even without a skin-tight seal around the user’s mouth.

Using small fans which sit near the ears, the Atmōs draws air from outside the mask, filters it and then channels it towards the mouth. The mask also contains sensors which monitor various user metrics like respiration rate.

Not just a face mask

Secondly, from a visual perspective, Atmōs Faceware is utterly alien compared to the standard surgical masks most people wear.

Aō Air sees the Atmōs as much more than just a face mask. Of course, its main purpose is to provide clean air, but it’s also supposed to be a fashion accessory.

The Atmōs has a large, clear front which ensures the user’s smile is still visible. There also appear to be lights inside the mask which illuminate the clear front and user’s face behind it.

But it is by no means sleek or lightweight, weighing in at 256 grams and protruding significantly from the user’s face.

Atmōs Facewear
The Atmōs is designed to be both practical and fashionable. Photo: Aō Air

Clean air or hot air?

One of the most important pieces of information about the Atmōs is its air filtration capabilities.

According to Aō Air, the Atmōs actually outperforms standard air filter masks, even though it doesn’t form an air-tight seal around the user’s face.

According to reports by The Verge, Aō Air actually conducted its own study into the Atmōs’ air filtration capabilities.

Unfortunately, the study has not actually been published or peer reviewed, which may, understandably, leave some potential customers a bit sceptical.

A limited stock of Atmōs Facewear is currently available to order. For $350 you’ll get the mask and four replacement filters.

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