Honda has developed a new “mask” for air filters that it’s likening to a facemask for your car. The Kurumask, or car mask, will apparently filter out 99.8% of airborne viruses in 15 minutes.
Unfortunately, there is no real established method for determining how effective the mask is against COVID-19, but, like washing your hands, it likely isn’t a bad idea anyway.
In testing paid for by Honda, which measured the presence of E.coli phage molecules, the Kurumask-fitted air filter removed 99.8% of virus droplets circulating in the air in 15 minutes, and 99.9% of them in 24 hours. For the test, the filter holder of an N-Box microcar, operated on air-circulation mode as less air is brought in from outside.
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“We want to make drivers feel safe and comfortable even when they keep their car windows closed in cold weather,” said Takaharu Echigo, who was in charge of the filter’s development.
The Kurumask really does act as a mask in that it can simply be fitted onto the cabin filter and, according to Honda, it’s effective for about a year. It works by using microscopic spikes on its surface to catch and damage viruses passing through it. The team behind it were inspired by academic research that found that dragonflies use similar spikes to keep their wings clean.
Honda says it’s partnering with a team of engineers who are developing a car to transport COVID-19 patients. The idea behind the partnership is to provide a safer environment for the drivers.
The Kurumask debuted on the N-Box, the latest version of which went on sale on December 25, and Honda plans to make it available on other models as well.