LUX is a car air purifier and on-the-go air monitor, that looks to combat in-car air pollution, a growing health concern around the world. The aim is to provide a cleaner and healthier environment inside the vehicle, whilst educating and informing the user's about their exposure to air pollution whilst on-the-go.
The majority of people have no alternative other than to commute to work inside a vehicle and this result in them being exposed to unhealthy levels of pollution. Research shows that pollution levels inside vehicles can be up to 15x worse than outside. When stuck at a red light or in a traffic jam, this can rise up to 40x worse. The health issues related to overexposure to Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Particulate Matter (PM2.5 and PM10) are alarming but yet there is minimal action being taken, within cities, to prevent this overexposure.
The opportunity space is to design a car air purifier that will maintain a clean and healthy air environment inside the vehicle. The device will also educate/inform the user about air pollution around them when on-the-go.
Initial sketches were used to explore forms and interactive elements. The design was refined and evaluated with the users to get to the best all-around solution.
The air filtration technology within LUX is called Photocatalytic Oxidisation (PCO). Photocatalytic Oxidisation is a technique that was originally used in meat processing plants and fruit and vegetables industry to remove bacteria and pesticides. It isn’t implemented into any car purifiers on the market as it has only been recently introduced into consumer products.
Internals components were specified and integrated into a detailed CAD model. Additionally, a functional prototype was created that consisted of a Grove Dust sensor (PM2.5 and PM10), multi-channel gas sensor (Carbon Monoxide and Nitrogen Dioxide) and VOC sensor. 3D prints were created and component were outsourced for machining, with ultimate goal of creating a fully aesthetic prototype for testing.
LUX neatly fits into the cars cup holder and is powered by the 12V power supply using a USB-C power cables.
The above images show the aesthetic prototype in context. LUX was evaluated with users and in context (vehicles and on bags) against a product specification. The ultimate goal was to highlight issues with the design, which could then feed into the design development process.
LUX is a car air purifier and on-the-go air monitor that utilises PCO purification technology. Its design mimics the purity of the cleaning process, whilst offering a lifestyle product that fits into peoples everyday lives. The fluted form accentuates the motion of air flow and the anodised aluminium body provides a clean and pure surface to hold.
The base of LUX is removable which allows the user to access the PCO module located inside the main body. The module needs to be removable as the catalytic mesh has a life of one year. The module is secured into the main body with a 1 pin DC magnetic power connector, which aids in removing and relocating the module after the mesh has been replaced. The base utilises a 3 stop screw thread, resulting in minimal effort to remove it.
The PCO module is made up of 3 main components, a UVC bulb, DC axial fan and a catalytic mesh. The catalytic mesh is coated with titanium dioxide (TiO2). The UVC bulb activates the catalyst on the mesh (TiO2). This causes it to release free radicals, which attach themselves to the pollutants and break them down into their simplest form, carbon dioxide and water, but at such microscopic levels that they simply evaporate into the air. The outcome of this process is that pollutants within the air are removed, leaving a healthier and cleaner air environment.
The secondary element of LUX is the removable air monitor. The air monitor allows the user to review the air quality around them whilst on foot. A fabric strap means the air monitor can be secured to a bag using a slip knot. The device can pair with the user's smartphone using Bluetooth. The information gathered by the air monitor is then relayed to a dedicated app which monitors exposure and alerts the user when travelling through high areas of pollution.
The device uses crowdsourced data resulting in the users becoming a cities pollution mapping tool. This means someone could review the pollution levels across the entire city at one time. It also allows governments to review data to see where consistent high areas of pollution are and may help them to make informed choices about reducing pollution levels within cities.
Creating a minimal and clean design was the key goal for the air monitor. The device stayed away from using complex surface treatments to avoid visual cluttering. The only interaction of the device on the top surface. A surface mounted switch underneath silicone insert has two functions. If the button is help for 3 seconds the device turns on. Whereas if the button is held for 5 seconds the Bluetooth functionality is activated for pairing to the user's smartphone.
Polluted air is drawn in the through the grill located on the base of the air monitor. The rear of the grill is covered with a breathable and waterproof GORTEX fabric, which allows air in and out but it is impermeable to water.
The app provides a hub for the user to access important air quality data. All data is compliant with the Air Quality Index (AQI) and the gradient colours directly link to the chart found on the AQI website. Users can swipe through the home page to see the current quality around them for each individual pollutant. The app highlights when levels are high and takes the user to a more detailed screen which provides them with valuable information to reduce their exposure.
The commute functionality of the app means users can input their commute route to work. The app can use the crowdsourced data to review the fastest route to work and if the route will expose the user to high levels of pollution, it will offer an alternative route with lower pollution exposure levels.
The life of the catalytic mesh can also be reviewed within the app and if it is coming to the end of its annual life, the user can simply tap to order a new one.
Packaging was created to provide an enjoyable experience when receiving the product. The air purifier and air monitor can be bought separately or as a complete bundle. This opens the product up to a larger market and allows individuals who don't travel to work, by a vehicle, to own an air monitor to help reduce their pollution exposure.
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