When LG announced its PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier last year, its priority was to develop wearable technology that would protect consumers without sacrificing comfort or hygiene. But the company has since gotten a bit bolder: Now the mask will come with a built-in microphone and speakers made for amplifying and clarifying the user’s voice.
According to LG, this iteration of the PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier minimizes the inconveniences of frequent face mask use. The company’s new VoiceON technology is intended to reduce mask muffling by automatically sensing when the user is speaking and amplifying their voice via the built-in speaker. Gone will be the days of helplessly repeating your coffee order to the barista at your favorite haunt.
The PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier functions by filtering air through two H13 HEPA filters, similar to the filters used in stand-alone home air purifiers. Its 1,000mAh battery (up from 820mAh in the last iteration) lasts up to 8 hours and takes two hours to charge with an included USB cable. LG says the mask is comfortable enough to be worn for 8 hours at a time; despite the unit’s apparent bulk, it only weighs 94 grams. With it comes a case containing UV-LED lights, which LG says kill 99.9 percent of bacteria. The case also functions as a charger and can notify the LG ThinQ mobile app when the filters need to be replaced.
LG’s mask is a direct competitor to Razer’s Project Hazel, an “intelligent mask” prototype that protects against large droplets and at least 95 percent of airborne particles. The Project Hazel prototype is admittedly more attractive—that is, if you dream of embodying the cyberpunk aesthetic. With dual LEDs powered by Razer Chroma RGB, recycled plastic parts, and a transparent window allowing facial visibility, Razer’s rendition of the battery-powered mask may be more alluring to consumers who prioritize fashion and sustainability.
At a time when both global pandemics and pollution are a concern, both companies’ masks are likely to find their way into consumers’ hands. For now, public use is limited to 120 athletes from Thailand, who sported the masks as they departed Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok for the summer Olympics in Tokyo. LG says they will officially release the mask in Thailand come August, then in other markets once approved by local regulators. LG has not yet named a price for the mask.
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