AirPop Active + Halo Smart Mask: Medgadget Review

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It is often said that “necessity is the mother of invention,” and this has certainly proved true with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. One of the medical products that has seen a kind of innovation, both in fashion and function, is facial coverage. What has historically been an item seen primarily in healthcare and industrial environments is now a hot medical device and a new fashion trend.

AirPop was one of the companies that announced a smart portable device called Active + during CES (virtual) in January and was kind enough to send us a unit to test it. Here are our opinions on this unique and timely gadget.

Design

The Active + Halo Smart Mask is a dome-shaped face mask, very similar to an N95 mask, which allows an air gap above the nose and mouth to facilitate breathing. It is attached to the face with soft ribbons of stretch fabric. Our mask was a little too loose, but AirPop provides bands to adjust the headphones.

The structure of the mask consists of an outer layer of soft but resistant fabric of two colors: black with neon green reflections or white with gray reflections. The design is modern and attractive; black or white is neutral, but green or gray accents give it a slight contemporary look. At the lower right end of the mask is the small plastic circle that is the Halo sensor. The inner layer of the mask consists of a replaceable filter consisting of double-layer, electrostatically charged TorayMicron fibers, which are commonly used in industrial environments. To ensure proper sealing, the filter layer is coated with two layers of silicone to fit different shaped faces.

While we appreciated how the silicone membrane was designed, we found it added extra volume to the already heavy mask and sometimes found it uncomfortable to wear it; we would feel an unpleasant cold on our face, especially in the morning if we left the mask on in the car at night and accumulated sweat easily when worn while walking.

Use

What makes the Active + face mask “smart” is the Halo sensor embedded in the fabric layer. The low-power Bluetooth sensor can track your respiratory rate, air volume, and wear time, and when combined with your smartphone app, you can use your location to determine the location. ‘AQI (air quality index) and calculate the amount of blocked particles. Even the Halo has an LED ring that can be customized according to your color preferences (although the LED would only light up when you sync the sensor with the app).

While the Halo sensor is fantastic in theory, the actual experience of using it with the app was less than ideal.

The app is poorly designed; navigating there was not intuitive, we found several spelling and grammar errors and random Chinese characters and our location was incorrect. Statistics on respiration and air quality were not useful or sometimes completely lacking. Finally, the Halo sensor battery died shortly after the six months the company claimed.

We hope the company can fix these issues in a future update.

I like

  • Attractive design
  • Innovative idea

I do not like it

  • Bulky compared to most other face masks
  • It is not the most comfortable to wear
  • The application is difficult to use

Conclusion

The AirPop Active + Halo smart mask is an absolutely brilliant idea … in theory. It was designed to capture useful information about our breathing and the air around us through a product that carries a lot of people everywhere, but has not been able to do so. In addition, at the time of writing, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has withdrawn mask recommendations from many public settings, providing an expected sense of freedom for many Americans. It remains to be seen what the face covering market will look like in the future, but given that they have never been widely accepted in society (at least compared to some East Asian countries), this portable device could very well convert. it is a short-lived fad and a reminder of a dark period in our history.

The AirPop Active + Halo smart mask is currently available for $ 150 from AirPop Health online store.





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