AUT Biodesign Lab Collaborates to Reduce Air Pollution Impact
Aō Air’s Atmos Facemask provides as much as 50 times more effective protection from air pollution than the market
leading masks it was tested against
A new mask launched at CES in January 2020 was developed with help from AUT’s BioDesign Lab. In a year that saw New
Delhi’s government declare a public health emergency due to dangerous levels of air pollution, the mask represents a
significant step in creating highly effective, wearable air filtration technology.
Research done by Master of Engineering student Bradley Nixon evaluated and validated the performance of the air
filtration system for the Aō Air Atmos facemask.
Director of the BioDesign Lab, senior lecturer Dr David White, says working directly with industry is central to the
Lab’s success. “Applying our research capabilities to solve real needs keeps the lab focused on delivering innovative
solutions. For our academic staff and students, it provides an opportunity to develop products that will end up
addressing real life issues.”
Dan Bowden, co-founder and CEO of Aō Air, the developer of Atmos Facewear, says the work done by AUT’s BioDesign Lab was
a crucial part of the journey.
“Air pollution now kills more people than smoking every year,” says Bowden. “Anyone who has endured the wildfires in
Australia or California, attempted to exercise during a pollution warning in Seoul, worked on a construction site in New
York or danced at Burning Man knows the current technology is flawed and hasn’t changed in more than 60 years. Aō Air’s
Facewear goes far beyond the capabilities of any other wearable available to provide protection from air pollution and
awareness of what is in their surrounding air. Our mission is to help people live without fear of air pollution.”
Compared to conventional filtration facemasks, which use an unreliable physical face-seal to prevent infiltration of
polluted air into the mask space, Atmos instead uses fans to draw air through a filter and pressurise the mask space in
front of a user’s mouth and nose, before venting around the mask perimeter.
The research found this method provides the user with an ‘air-citadel’ of filtered air to prevent infiltration of
polluted air and is compatible with more face shapes and facial features including facial hair.
The Atmos Facewear was launched at CES Consumer Electronics Show in January 2020 with a pre-order price of $US350, and
an expected delivery date of July 2020.