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New Blood Entry — Tim Bouckley, James Wright, Benedict Copping

Award: In Book

Product Design / 2013

Cyclists are the group exposed to the highest pollution risk in urban environments. With increasing numbers of commuters taking to bicycles and pollution levels likely to continue rising in the future, how can riders avoid the associated health risks and maintain their performance? Air quality in London is the worst in Europe, with 82% of respondents in a King’s College survey identifying air pollution as an inhibitive to cycling. Typically cyclists inhale up to 15 times more air than motorists or pedestrians, and much is inhaled through the mouth bypassing natural filtering in the nasal cavities. Pollution masks currently on the market have little scientific provenance, and restrict performance for users. User insights showed consumers wanted to protect themselves but didn’t trust existing masks, while those who do wear them often found them hot, uncomfortable and inhibitive to breathing. Typically, harmful particles are sufficiently small to pass through the majority of 0.3μ mask filters on the market. AETHER is designed to maximise cycling performance, while protecting them from harmful airborne pollutants including O3, SO2, NO2, PM10s, CO3 and soot. Airflow is maximised using vents in the polypropylene skin to port air towards the mouth and filter. Complete protection is achieved using a 0.25μ charcoal filter to remove harmful particles and vapours. Ozone Paper® (developed by NTT Energy and Environmental Systems Laboratories) gives a colour change indication when the filter needs to be replaced, based on the pollutant levels absorbed. This visual feedback gives users confidence that their mask is protecting them effectively. A lightweight, hypo-allergenic neoprene body and dual-strap design forms a comfortable and secure fit around the mouth and nose, while the contoured, ergonomic design guarantees an effective seal. The air cavity created between the mask and the face is increased in size to improve cooling and allow easy breathing. AETHER utilises many of the Oakley’s core competences, such as face-mounted technology and sport-grade materials, and would fit perfectly within the Oakley product portfolio. In summary, AETHER is an advanced cycling mask that embodies both the streamlined style and competitive values of the Oakley brand. It blocks all harmful pollutants and optimises airflow to deliver a cutting edge cycling accessory for urban riders who strive for high performance.

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