Might Be Your Best Bet to Block Germs

In a world of bushfires, Coronavirus, and next-level air pollution, is this pricey device worth the splurge?

By Ashley Davis


AO Air

Travel on an airplane lately, or even walk down a busy city street, and chances are you’ve encountered some fellow commuters donning face masks.

In the wake of the coronavirus epidemic in China, personal protective gear use has skyrocketed worldwide, even leading to deficiencies for people who need them most, like healthcare workers and people who are actually sick, according to the World Health Organization.

It’s been a hot topic of debate how effective it is for members of the general population to wear protective equipment like surgical masks, but one company claims they’ve created a personal air filtration system that really works.The only catch is, you might have to shed your dignity and a field a lot of weird looks if you choose to sport it in public (and that’s kinda when you should be wearing it).

The Atmos from company AO Air is extremely different from the face masks you’ve been seeing since the coronavirus outbreak.


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For one, it doesn’t seal around the face. AO Air argues that the traditional method of face protection leaves the wearer breathing in their regurgitated CO2 filled breaths, instead of new, fresh oxygen. The Atmos, however, relies on fans to provide a constant one-way air flow. The fans route oxygen through an impressive filtration system that traps larger particles as well as fines ones like dust, pollen, and ash. It connects to an app through Bluetooth to give information on the quality of air you’re breathing, plus the status of your filters and batteries, which need to be replaced fairly regularly. AO Air also claims that the Atmos can even keep up with situations when you’re using a lot of oxygen, like sprinting or any type of workout performed at peak level.

The scientific claims are backed up by an independent study from the Auckland University of Technology, which found the Atmos provides up to 50 times more protection that other leading air filtration masks.

But how does it hold up to the first date test? It’s clear, rather than covered, so people can actually see your face (a bonus). The design of the protective shield itself is sleek and futuristic, almost like a version of X-Men’s Cyclops, though, no, it doesn’t shoot out lasers (a negative). We can imagine the fan background noise being a little disruptive to first-date conversation (that could be a positive or negative depending on how the date’s going).

Ultimately we would recommend pre-ordering the Atmos, which will be available this summer, for a few specific types of people:

A) The total germaphobe who doesn’t mind being noticed.

B) The athlete who struggles with poor air quality where they live and is open to trying something new.

C) The fashion thirst trap who’s looking for the best way to get some street style photographer attention during Fashion Week.

For the rest of us, we’ll stick to regularly washing our hands.

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