Estonian tech firm Respiray launched a wearable air purifier that eliminates over 99% of viruses with UV technology.
Estonian technology company Respiray has launched a wearable air purifier based on a UV-C LED module that disinfects over 99% of inhalable air. The patent-pending UV-C module has been tested by the University of Łódź in Poland and the University of Tartu in Estonia. The company accepts pre-orders from private customers. Deliveries start in mid-March.
The air purifier is based on two principles – the thermodynamics of breathing and the disinfection effect of ultraviolet light. When breathing, the majority of inhaled air comes from airflows that rise on the body surface of a person. This is contradictory to the general belief that breathing is more or less horizontal. For this reason, the product is strategically designed as a wearable device.
Air enters the device from the bottom part of the air purifier. The air volume first goes through the intake filter, which filters out dust and larger particles. The air then flows through the UV-C LED module that inactivates over 99% of viruses and bacteria. The air volume is ventilated out from the upper part of the device towards the person’s face. The air purifier provides a maximum purified airflow of 55 litres per minute, which is 3-4x more than an average person at rest breathes.
Respiray co-founder Robert Arus stresses the breakthrough, as it’s the first wearable air purifier allowing people to breathe, speak and smile without restrictions. “We put protection first, while not compromising on user experience. A person can breathe effortlessly, and other people see the facial expressions of the user. As the world lives side-by-side with the pandemic for the unforeseen future, I hope Respiray’s device has a positive impact on the general well-being of our society,” he said.
Respiray’s UV-C module has been tested in the laboratories of the University of Tartu in Estonia, and the University of Łódź in Poland. In the Łódź test, the patent-pending disinfection module achieved 99.68% and 99.88% reduction against E.coli and S.aureus bacteria respectively at 30 l/min throughputs. The Tartu study was led by Professor of Applied Virology at the University of Tartu PhD Andres Merits, and Head of Biosafety Core Facility at the University of Tartu PhD Liane Viru. The module achieved 99.4% effectiveness of inactivating Alphavirus. More information about Respiray’s independent test results can be found here.
“The efficiency test of the UV-C module was performed on Alphavirus to research if and how effectively the device inactivates virus particles. Alphavirus is a similar single-stranded RNA-genome virus to SARS-CoV-2 and both viruses are comparable in size: approximately 70-100 nanometers. The results concluded that 99.4% of the virus particles were inactivated. It’s important to highlight the significance of these findings, because the remaining diminutive concentration of virus particles is very unlikely to cause infection in the target organism,” Viru explained.
Respiray’s wearable air purifier is perfect for people working in public-facing environments where communication and facial expressions are a key part of their role. Respiray has confirmed preliminary agreements with Alexela, Coop Pank, Euronics, Merko Group and Tallinna Kaubamaja Group, who will pilot devices with their customer service employees. Respiray has also sealed a preliminary agreement with The Estonian Ministry of Education and Research to pilot devices on teachers in the general education system. The orders are delivered in March.
Indrek Reimand, Deputy Secretary General at the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research, highlights that the ministry is delighted to endorse innovation. “Respiray provides a fantastic example of how the collaboration between engineers, scientists, designers and entrepreneurs drives creative solutions for complex issues. There’s no magic wand against the virus, but a number of endeavours in combination all contribute to the exit from the pandemic. The mixture of instrumental vehicles include vaccines, medicines, social distancing and air purifiers, that are engineered by Respiray’s product development team,” Reimand said.
Respiray is founded by Aleksandr Frorip, Robert Arus, and Indrek Neivelt the founder of Pocosys, a company acquired by Norwegian software company Opera in 2020. Respiray is funded by the parent research and development company Ldiamon, which has 15 years of expertise in developing and manufacturing medical UV-C LED sensors for leading medical companies across Europe. Respiray confirms additional funding from Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn’s investment vehicle Metaplanet Holdings. Jaan Tallinn is also known for being an early investor in DeepMind.
Read more about the Respiray wearable air purifier here.