After the world was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, engineers at the Estonia-based Respiray began working on a high-tech wearable air purifier to protect people from getting infected. The company’s team of experts and scientists began working on a face mask alternative that would eliminate the need to cover a face or restrict breathing. They designed their product with teachers in mind to help them communicate better whilst staying protected from any respiratory viruses and their mutations.
Harnessed for decades, UV has been deployed within technology solutions to provide a range of products widely used by society worldwide. Commercial and medical organizations have been using it to disinfect environments for years.
Recently, there have been big advancements in UV-C LEDs (265 nm), which are now low maintenance, reliable, and do not produce any ozone, causing another resurgence of UV disinfection.
UV-C causes damage to the DNA and RNA of pathogens like viruses and biological micro-organisms and prevents them from replicating, effectively inactivating the pathogens. UV technology solutions like Respiray offer extra protection against respiratory viruses.
Respiray uses the latest UV technology to protect people against respiratory illnesses. This wearable air purifier disinfects the air you breathe and eliminates 99% of viruses and bacteria with invisible UV-C light.
The air purifier takes in unfiltered air, runs it through the UV disinfection module, and blows virus-free air to the front of the wearer’s face. In fact, the device purifies up to 55 liters of air per minute which is up to 4x more than an average resting human breathes.
Respiray’s wearable air purifier has an ergonomic design. The weight is evenly distributed along your shoulders to provide maximum comfort. The device has an 8-hour battery that gives you peace of mind to smile and communicate all day long while being protected against unwanted airborne viruses. It also comes with an attachable face shield that can be worn when close to others.
Respiray can be used in crowded indoor environments such as schools, universities, offices, restaurants, supermarkets, events, and hotels – areas where communication is critical. Respiray is used by every business that wants to give their staff added protection, particularly those working in busy, poorly ventilated, or enclosed spaces.
At present, the device is only available in the EU, but soon it will be launched worldwide. Respiray devices have been sold for private customers across Europe in 12 different countries. Plus, several companies have bought the devices to offer extra protection to their employees and customers. The 4-star business and conference hotel Nordic Hotel Forum is recently using Respiray’s wearable air purifiers in their conference rooms to safeguard their guests.
Respiray is seeing a high demand for the product in educational environments. Schools are very keen to protect their teachers, especially those that cater to children with special educational needs. The Estonian Ministry of Health bought 100 devices for schools in Estonia.
Indrek Reimand, Deputy Secretary General at the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research, highlights that the ministry is delighted to endorse innovation. “Respiray provides a fantastic example of how the collaboration between engineers, scientists, designers, and entrepreneurs drives creative solutions for complex issues,” Reimand said.
Respiray is the world’s first company to engineer and produce a wearable air purifier that uses UV-C technology to disinfect air breathed in without covering a wearer's face. The patent-pending disinfection module is unique in its concept – it provides maximum disinfection with minimum energy consumption. This module enabled us to design a wearable product that efficiently kills viruses and that lets the wearer breathe effortlessly, while others can see their facial expressions.
Respiray isn’t only a mask alternative for COVID-19 – it is a personal air purifier for a post-covid world that protects people against airborne viruses, including regular flu and virus mutations. It complements ventilation and minimizes the risks of getting infected.
Does UV-C produce ozone? Is UV-C safe?
These are important questions concerning UV technology as UV light can often be associated with ozone production. However, ozone is only produced at short wavelengths. Respiray’s device is lab-tested to prove zero-emission of ozone. The highest quality Crystal IS Klaran’s 265 nm UV-C LEDs are sealed in double plastic enclosures to prevent any leaks.
Respiray’s UV-C disinfection modules have been independently tested by the University of Tartu and the University of Lodz. They achieved over 99% effectiveness at inactivating various viruses and bacteria.
“The efficiency test of the UV-C module was performed on Alphavirus to research if and how effectively the device inactivates virus particles. Alphavirus is a similar single-stranded RNA-genome virus to SARS-CoV-2 and both viruses are comparable in size: approximately 70-100 nanometers. The results concluded that 99.4% of the virus particles were inactivated. It’s important to highlight the significance of these findings because the remaining diminutive concentration of virus particles is very unlikely to cause infection in the target organism,” says Liane Viru, Ph.D., lead researcher Professor of Applied Virology at the University of Tartu Ph.D. Andres Merits, and Head of Biosafety Core Facility at the University of Tartu.
Respiray was founded by Aleksandr Frorip, Robert Arus, and Indrek Neivelt – the founder of Pocosys, a company acquired by Norwegian software company Opera in 2020. Respiray is funded by a research and development company Ldiamon, which has 15 years of expertise in developing and manufacturing medical UV-C LED sensors for leading medical companies across Europe. The company has raised a total of 1.2 million euros, including from Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn’s investment vehicle Metaplanet Holdings.