Estonian research and development company Respiray has developed a wearable air purifier that uses UV-C light to inactivate harmful airborne pathogens and disinfects air without covering a wearer’s face or restricting breathing.

The device, simply named Wearable Air Purifier, has been independently tested at the University of Tartu and the University of Lodz, where it achieved over 99 per cent efficiency at eliminating viruses and bacteria. Respiray is the first company to engineer and produce a wearable air purifier that uses UV-C technology to disinfect the air breathed in, without covering a wearer’s face.

Respiray says that the idea was to design an air purifier in a way that people could behave as naturally as possible when wearing the device. “A person can breathe effortlessly, and other people see the facial expressions of the user,” Respiray Co-Founder and COO Robert Arus told Springwise.

The device operates on two principles — the thermodynamics of breathing and the disinfection effect of UV light. Contradictory to the general belief that breathing is horizontal, the majority of inhaled air comes from airflows rising on the body’s surface of the person.

For this reason, Wearable Air Purifier is designed as a neck-wearable device, allowing air to enter from the bottom of the device and pass through the intake filter. The air is then ventilated out from the top of the device towards the person’s face.

The maximum provided airflow is 3 to 4 times more than an average person at rest breathes.

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