Many of us love motorcycling because it gets us out in the fresh air instead of cocooned inside a hermetically sealed cage on the road. Sometimes, however, the air is not so fresh. Think about the last time you got stuck behind a big truck belching thick clouds of black smoke, or pretty much anywhere in a big city with all the exhaust from traffic. At CES, French company R-Pur showed off its high-tech solution to keep you breathing clean in even the worst traffic conditions.
There are three parts to the R-Pur Nano. The most important is the particle filter itself. The replaceable filter exceeds all European standards, blocking pollen, bacteria, viruses, and fine particles as small as 50 nanometers. The filter attaches to the mask, which is available in a few different designs. The mask straps securely around your head to maintain a seal against your face. An extraction valve sits in front of your mouth to allow hot air to escape without fogging up your visor or glasses. The R-Pur Nano is designed specifically to fit under a motorcycle helmet, as well as other applications like bicycling or simply walking around the city.
That's all well and good for a high-quality mask, but what makes it worth showing at a technology show like CES? In part, because there's an app for that. Yes, R-Pur's smartphone app will pair with your mask and keep track of how used up it gets. When your filter is due for replacement, the app will alert you, and even enable you to order a replacement immediately. At CES, R-Pur also showed a prototype mask lights up in pretty colors to show the current air quality in real time. It might be green until you end up behind that diesel-spewing truck when it would turn red instead.
Although air pollution is much better today than it has been in the past, the World Health Organization still estimates that 4.2 million people die from it each year. I personally suffer not only from asthma but also from pollen and mold allergies that can make it nearly impossible to breathe at times. Even though I avoid cities like the plague, this mask might still do me some good when spring is busting out all over, and pollen turns everything yellow regardless of its actual color.
Motorcycling is one of many markets the R-Pur Nano is geared toward, riders suffering from respiratory issues may be able to put it to good use. It is currently only available in Europe for about $200, but R-Pur plans to offer it in the U.S. later this year.