RunFree: Personal Air Purifier Hat

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Air pollution kills 7 million people annually and has been linked to increased incidence of respiratory conditions. Exacerbation of respiratory disease symptoms due to air pollution is prevalent, affecting 90% of people with asthma. However, healthy people are also affected. 42% of people live in areas where air is unhealthy and this has direct impact on health of 3-13% of general population and 10-20% of athletes.

The current methods for reducing air pollution health impacts are ineffective and crude. Face masks are inconvenient and obstruct breathing. Neck-worn purifiers don’t protect against all pollutants and don’t work well while running or in windy conditions. Portable and convenient air purification technology can empower dramatic social change and allow vulnerable people with respiratory, cardiac and other health conditions to maintain healthy lifestyles.

The goal of RunFree is to democratize access to clean air and make our society healthier by offering people an option to spend time outdoors and exercise no matter where they are. RunFree hat purifies the air the wearer breathes by filtering all the major pollutants (particulate matter, NOx, CO and organic compounds) through bio-inspired air channels. These channels were inspired by leaf vessels and provide and efficient system for: 1) purifying the air, 2) humidifying the air and 3) distributing air in the breathing zone. Low power sensors measure the effectiveness of filtration system and enable adaptive filteration based on activity level and extent of pollution. They also send haptic feedback to the wearer notifying them when filter pack needs to be replaced. The hat was designed with flexibility and comfort in mind. It’s sweat-resistant and easy to clean. Lightweight design insures that it fits under helmet and porous structure wicks away the sweat and cools down the wearer.

RunFree hats are made of a blend of natural and synthetic yarns coated in vinyl, which makes the fabric waterproof and stain resistant. In addition, an antimicrobial protection is applied which helps prevent the stains and bacteria growth.

The filter pack is manufactured in-house using activated carbon pellets, HEPA-inspired filter and bio filter. Electronics are produced using lead-free SMT manufacturing process, while flexible rechargeable batteries are used to supply power.

RunFree is at the intersection of exercise equipment industry ($5B in North America) and air purification industry ($1B in North America). According to our market research, there is a demand for continuous and unobtrusive air pollution protection and our customer interviews indicate specific needs, which we are addressing in product design.

RunFree solves our customer’s problem because it’s: 1) continuous, 2) convenient, 3) reliable and 4) complete. It offers continuous protection from air pollution both outdoors and indoors. Its unobtrusive, lightweight and wearable form factor ensures comfort while wearing for extended periods of time. Pollution sensor systems ensure it’s reliable at keeping polluted air out and clean air in, while proprietary filtration system and air curtain ensure complete protection against all the major pollutants. RunFree stands for on-the-go clean air, comprehensive protection and a peace of mind.



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  • Name:
    Natalia Mykhaylova
  • Type of entry:
    Team members:
    Natalia Mykhaylova
    Arvind Karir
  • Profession:
  • Natalia is inspired by:
    Solving problems, improving processes, sustainable design
  • Software used for this entry:
    Eagle PCB, SolidWorks
  • Patent status: