Today marks the launch of a personal wearable air purifier called LG PuriCare by the South Korean conglomerate. LG made a big splash at IFA 2020 in October when it teased a wearable personal air solution. Today's announcement brings this novel wearable for purchase in Asia and the Middle East. I suspect this is going to usher in a new category in the wearable space which could gain traction in the post-COVID-19 environment.
LG is marketing this wearable as an extension to its other products for home and commercial spaces. A key differentiator is that this product focuses on portability, battery power, and the individual. LG claims that this device has high-performance filters and sensor-controlled fans to ensure clean air and optimal breathing comfort anywhere, any time.
So how does LG PuriCare actually work?
Based on details in the press release, it seems that LG PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier has two H13 HEPA filters. These are similar to the filters found in residential air purifiers. Typically an H13 HEPA filter can filter out 99.95 percent of harmful airborne matter such as viruses, bacteria, and allergens. LG is thinking that by having a personal wearable filter they can prevent these contaminants from entering the respiratory system of the user.
Aside from the two H13 HEPA filters, there are dual fans and a patented Respiratory Sensor. LG claims that these components work together to filter the air in almost any environment. Thereby allowing the user to breathe pure clean air. Additionally, the sensor adjusts the three-speed DUAL Fans depending on how much air and with what frequency the user is breathing. In short, it speeds up during the inhale portion of the breathing cycle and slows down during exhaling.
Apparently, it is also designed to fit snugly on the faces of most adults based on extensive facial analysis. I am guessing this should help minimize air leakage around the usual suspect areas – nose and chin. Hopefully, the design should also allow wearing this device for extended periods of time.
What about battery life?
LG claims that the built-in rechargeable battery can deliver air purification up to 8 hours on the low-speed setting. This drops to 2 hours on the highest DUAL Fans setting. Battery life in real-world use case should determine the adoption rate of this device once the initial euphoria of early adopters dies down.
How to keep this device hygienically clean?
Seems that the components such as filters, inner cover, face guard, ear straps, and extenders are easy to remove or replace. So the thought process is that you can use a UV-C light sanitizer to sterilize the components. LG is also offering the PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier Case featuring LG’s UVnano sanitization technology. A 30-minute sanitization cycle should be sufficient to eliminate 99.99 of harmful germs according to LG.
The case also charges the battery to full in 2 hours. It can also remove moisture from the internal components from exposure to the user's breath for prolonged times. Apparently you can get a reminder on the LG ThinQ app when the filters need to be replaced as well.
“PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier was developed to address the growing demand worldwide for products that can improve personal hygiene at a time when it’s needed most,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solution Company. “This groundbreaking device offers a new level of portable protection, making it possible for consumers to comfortably breathe clean air on-the-go so they have one less thing to worry about.”