breathe.io

deliverables

  • Product Development
  • Strategy
  • Project Management

CLIENT

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology

COMPLETED

  • May 2019

Breathe.io tackles the growing global problem of urban pollution by providing a state-of-the-art, personalized, data-activated air filtration mask to empower users to protect themselves as well as granular data networks to provide governments and third parties with data insights to better manage pollution at its source.

How to design an air mask that users will preceive as comfortable, fashionable and effective?

Problem

China and India are among the largest, most polluted countries globally, yet many users don’t wear masks to protect against pollution.

Why? Users perceive masks as neither functional fashionable, nor comfortable.

“不戴。不美观。”.
“I do not wear one - it is unsightly.”

“प्रभाव स्पष्ट नहीं है कि कैसे, कोई पता लगाने के परिणाम के बाद स”.
“The effect is not clear, since it (the mask) does not indicate result”.

Ideation

Keeping in mind the users, their needs and the overall aesthetic features of the mask, our goal was to design a lightweight, portable and ergonomic mask that visually differentiated itself from all its competitors.

Designing the mask, we based the final prototype on initial form studies and facial anatomy models we 3D scanned from a wide range of participants, representing the 95th percentile of the population.

Prototyping

Referencing from our studies, we produced a working beta prototype. The main structure was printed in PLA whereas the flexible facial interface was printed using TPU.

This helped us test the clamshell mechanism of the replaceable cover as well as inserting a PM 2.5 filter.

Breathe.io

Breathe.io takes on three main goals: ergonomics, education, and customization.

The silicone bits of the earpieces and of the facial interface provide maximum comfort. In addition, the earpieces enable the user to wear earphones and ear pods without disturbance.

The LED strip indicator is using socially accepted colors to inform the user and the surrounding pedestrians of the air quality around them. From green light indicating safe and clean air to red light stating highly accumulated particulates.

To make the mask more personalized for the user, the stylized front cover of the mask can be taken off and replaced with a different one. This customization of the product allows the user to design the mask according to his or her own aesthetic taste.

Proof of Concept

One of the exciting features of the mask is its IoT sensor, Air Quality Indicator. This AQI sensor can measure the polluted particulate in the air and share this data with the user.

To showcase the work-alive designs of IoT sensor working in tandem with the mask, we made a close cased, clear viewed plastic chamber to simulate the air pollution environment. Placing a Breathe.io mask on a 3D printed human head, we sealed them inside the chamber.

By Bluetooth communications between the sensors and the mobile phone, the data for outside of the mask is shown to be 1114 for heavy pollution, and the data for inside of the mask is 19 for good protection by the mask.

Strategy

The team chose the China and India regions to focus on due to reasons including commercial scalability, market size and access to first hand qualitative and quantitative customer research. China and India’s mask market is approximately 90 million and 40 million respectively and expected to grow in small increments over the next 5 years.

Breathe.io’s revenue streams consist of two units: product sales and data sales. Product sales are our core business and the product that drives a user’s interaction and association with Breathe.io. Data sales target governments and NGOs interested in pollution-based data to understand pollution risk, issue public warnings, and influence public policy across their constituencies; and commercial parties interested in leveraging location-based data to target users with relevant advertising.

Breathe.io is not simply an IoT smart mask, but, rather an ecosystem informed by data. It is sharing information via viral product design, with the overall goal of changing consumer behavior.

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