LUX is a car air purifier and on-the-go air monitor that utilizes PCO purification technology. Its design mimics the purity of the cleaning process andhas been designed to neatly fit into the cars cup holder and is powered off the 12V power supply using a USB-C cable. The aim is to provide a cleaner and healthier environment inside the vehicle while educating users about their exposure to air pollution while on-the-go.
Many people have no alternative to commuting to work inside via car, which results in exposure to unhealthy levels of pollution. Research shows that pollution levels inside vehicles can be up to 15x worse than outside. When stuck at a red light or in a traffic jam, this can rise up to 40x worse than the outdoors. The health issues related to overexposure to Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Particulate Matter (PM2.5 and PM10) are alarming, yet there is minimal action being taken to prevent this overexposure.
Blake Parkinson - Industrial Designer
Filtration technology (PCO)
LUX's fluted form accentuates the motion of air flow, and the anodized aluminum body provides a clean, pure surface to hold. The device has been designed to neatly fit into the car's cup holder and is powered off the 12V power supply using a USB-C cable.
The air filtration technology within LUX is called Photocatalytic Oxidization (PCO). PCO is a technique that was originally used in meat processing plants and the fruit and vegetables industry to remove bacteria and pesticides. PCO isn't implemented into any car purifiers on the market, as it has only been recently introduced into consumer products.
The PCO module is made up of 3 main components, a UVC bulb, DC axial fan and a catalytic mesh coated with titanium dioxide (TiO2). The UVC bulb activates the catalyst on the mesh (TiO2). This causes it to release free radicals, which attach themselves to the pollutants and break them down into their simplest form—carbon dioxide and water—but at such microscopic levels that they simply evaporate into the air.
The outcome of this process is that pollutants within the air are removed, leaving a healthier and cleaner air environment. The base of LUX is removable, which allows users to access the PCO module located inside the main body. The module needs to be removable as the catalytic mesh has a life span of one year. The module is secured into the main body with a 1 pin DC magnetic power connector, which aids in removing and relocating the module after the mesh has been replaced.
The secondary element of LUX is the removable air monitor, which allows users to review the air quality around them while on foot. A fabric strap means the air monitor can be secured to a bag using a slip knot. The device can also pair with smartphones using Bluetooth. The information gathered by the air monitor is then relayed to a dedicated app which monitors exposure and alerts the user when traveling through high areas of pollution.
The device uses crowdsourced data, resulting in the users becoming a city pollution mapping tool, which means someone could review the pollution levels across the entire city at one time. It also allows governments to review data to see where consistent high areas of pollution are, which may help them make informed choices about reducing pollution levels within their cities.
Creating a minimal and clean design was a key goal for when designing LUX. The device stays away from using complex surface treatments to avoid visual clutter. The only interaction of the device is a surface-mounted switch underneath a silicone insert that has two functions. If the button is held for 3 seconds, the device turns on, and if the button is held for 5 seconds, the Bluetooth functionality is activated for pairing to the user's smartphone. Polluted air is drawn in the through the grill located on the base of the air monitor. The rear of the grill is covered with a breathable and waterproof GORTEX fabric, which allows air in and out but it is impermeable to water.
The app provides a hub for the user to access important air quality data. All data is compliant with the Air Quality Index (AQI), and the gradient colors directly link to the chart found on the AQI website. Users can swipe through the home page to see the current quality around them for each individual pollutant. The app highlights when levels are high and takes the user to a more detailed screen, which provides them with valuable information to reduce their exposure.
The commute functionality of the app means users can input their commute route to work. The app can use the crowdsourced data to review the fastest route to work, and if the route will expose the user to high levels of pollution, it will offer an alternative route with lower pollution exposure levels. The life of the catalytic mesh can also be reviewed within the app. If it is coming to the end of its annual life, the user can simply tap to order a new one.
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