‘Hand Tree’ Puts Cleaner Air At The End Of Your Arm

There are lots of benefits to living in a big city, but cleaner air certainly isn’t one of them. Public transit and access to museums can’t wash away the stench of industry or the smog of urban traffic. If you want to take advantage of all a big city has to offer, you’re going to breath in some toxic fumes, that’s just the reality.

Or is it? Hand Tree is a concept currently working its way through the Electrolux Design Lab competition. It’s yet another example of wearable technology–a¬†personal air purifier that’s worn around the wrist. Like its namesake, Hand Tree would inhale dirty air and exhale purified air. One may not make a huge difference, but millions all breathing in the same geographical area could make a serious difference to air quality.

hand tree

Image via Alexandr Kostin/Electrolux Design Lab

Designed by Alexandr Kostin, the Hand Tree would be made from bioplastic and feature a carbon filter. With the onboard touchpad, someone wearing the high-tech bracelet could activate internal ionizers, which would suck in tobacco smoke, harmful gasses, chemical emissions, and even unpleasant odors. Once the air had passed through the filtration system, it would be re-emitted as fresh, clean oxygen.

A changing logo color on the touch pad would inform the wearer about the condition of the filter. A changing of the body lighting color would indicate the level of environmental pollution.

hand tree

Image via Alexandr Kostin/Electrolux Design Lab

“Combining millions of personal air purifiers we can achieve the image of living in a forest. If every inhabitant in a big city would wear such a device, we would be all to breathe easily in a smoggy air,” writes Kostin.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog

    • ted

      If it’s manufactured in an establishment where it has “zero waste” mentality and with renewable and recyclable resources, while the product itself can be recycled or composted, I’m all for it.
      How often does the carbon filter need to be changed?
      Green products don’t always mean green production and over all green in the long run. Although, I do understand that this is the first step in the right direction – just need to think one further step ahead.

      • JMM

        Great points, Ted. As a potential consumer, I am interested in how often I would have to change the filter and how expensive those are. Cheers.

    • JMM

      This is a fantastic concept! However, by itself, I fear the Hand Tree would have difficulty reaching a broad audience beyond those who have an eco-friendly mentality and money to spend. To be successful, this technology will need to become integrated into today’s technology. Perhaps it might be redesigned for a smartphone or a bluetooth headset. Maybe traffic lights can have these units built-in so they clean the air right at the intersection where emissions are likely the worst. I wish Kostin the best of luck as he develops this thoughtful and necessary idea.

    • BobTheJanitor2

      Humans need about 15 liter of oxygen per minute, and the air is only 20% oxygen so this thing will need a fan that can push 75 liters per minute through that filter, if you “plumbed” the air directly to your mouth, (to purify a room would take a lot more than that; a small bathroom has a fan at minimum 50 times larger than that.) That isn’t that much, using a large low speed fan, (think ceiling fan,) you could easily do that with less than a watt of power, but this device isn’t ceiling fan sized, (doing it with a small fan at high speeds is much less efficient, not to mention a lot noisier.) If you only want to charge this at night you’d need 16 hours of run time, so you need a 20 watt-hour battery at minimum (or you’ll just destroy the battery.) Given current top of the line lithium-ion technology, the battery for this thing would be bigger than my cell phone, (not the cell phone battery, the phone itself,) and then you start adding in the filterS (you want two pre-filter on carbon, otherwise you just waste it,) and that big slow fan, (and I haven’t even included the ionizers nor their effect on the battery,) and of course, the face mask.

      Huh, it looks so much smaller than that in the picture…

      There is better technology than this already out in the world, it may not have mood lighting, but it totally works for filtering pollution: google “gas mask” (Still wouldn’t recommend wearing one for 16 hours though.)