Most people know, especially in the present time of coronavirus contagion, that face masks help protect against air pollution and associated allergies, and curb the spread of viruses. But many feel uncomfortable wearing them for long because of discomfort in breathing. If you face breathing issues while wearing a mask and this is the only reason you have to keep taking off your mask frequently, you finally have a solution in the Philips Fresh Air Mask.
The Philips Fresh Air Mask is a one-of-its-kind face mask with a built-in fan to help tide over the feeling of breathlessness. The face mask comprises three units – an outer layer, a fan module (with chargeable battery), and an air filter. It is a modular face mask with the outer layer holding together the other two units. If you are wondering why the modular design, it is because the fan’s battery needs to be charged almost daily and the air filter needs to be changed every 15 days or after 40 hours of usage.
The Philips Fresh Air Mask may seem complicated. But it is not. It is fairly easy to put together and use. Starting with the outer layer, it is reusable and boasts a mesh fabric design for easy cleaning and maintenance. The outer layer has a cavity for the fan module on the left side with a button on it to adjust the fan speed by up to three levels.
The fan cavity is covered but has a passage at the bottom side for air to pass through. This is deliberate, to channel the airflow downwards in order to avoid spreading exhaled air directly on those in the vicinity.
On the inner side, the air filter sits above the fan module and has a dedicated circular opening for it to latch on to the fan module. Besides its job of cleaning the air, the air filter acts as a layer of safety protection between the part of the face covered by the mask and the fan module and its electric components.
Coming to the utility, the Philips Fresh Air Mask performs as advertised in terms of breathing comfort. This is probably the only mask that lets you breathe as you normally would, even with the mask on. It follows a two-way filtration process which means the face mask filters the air on its way in and out. As for the filtration efficiency, it is advertised that the face mask uses four-layered filtration to clean the air. There, however, is no mention of N95 or N99 protection.
The Philips Fresh Air Mask delivers what it promises – a comfortable experience. It, however, may not suit everyone because its price tag of Rs 6,990. Even if we take the price out of the equation, the lack of N95 or N99 protection may not convince many amid the on-going pandemic. The Philips Fresh Air Mask could have been a perfect pandemic tech product, but, unfortunately, it seems to have missed the bus. For its price and utility, the Philips Fresh Air Mask should not be seen as a tech-backed alternative to conventional face but a niche product aimed at a select few, like runners and gym-goers.