“Our antimicrobial air purifier is completely IoT-enabled”

HomeInterviews“Our antimicrobial air purifier is completely IoT-enabled”

Although the increasing air pollution has always been a topic of discussion across the globe, the deteriorating quality of indoor air was never taken that seriously, especially in a country like ours, until the onset of COVID-19 pandemic that changed our lives like never before. The virulent disease taught us how one should be on his/her guard even inside the home or at the workplaces. While it has become a new normal for mankind, homegrown startup AiRTH took it as a challenge to protect people from airborne disease transmission like COVID-19 and air pollution through the world’s first anti-microbial air purifier, which is IoT-enabled that helps you to monitor crucial parameters such as real-time ambient air quality, humidity and temperature. Ramesh Kumar Raja caught up with Ravi Kaushik, an IIT-B alumnus and Founder and CEO of AiRTH, to understand the technicalities of this air purifier, its business proposition and how this technology is in the larger interest of the general public. Excerpts:

How old is AiRTH in India and how is its business going on, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic?

AiRTH is eight months old with more than two years of successful R&D experience in advanced air purification technologies. We took the challenge to protect people from airborne disease transmission like COVID-19 and air pollution through the world’s first anti-microbial air purifier.

We got our first breakthrough in June 2020 after we validated our SAVE technology for the reduction of SARS-CoV-2 sized particles after working for months on mathematical models, simulations, prototype development, and in-house testing.

In July 2020, we filed for a patent with IIT Bombay and did another testing for microbial reduction from the air itself which no other organization has done. IIT Kanpur’s SIIC has been very supportive and is now helping us with the deployment of our unit at various organizations and hospitals.

We have conducted pilot studies at various organizations like offices, restaurants, co-working spaces, hospitals, and gyms. Through this period, we could note that people want to be safeguarded against unseen viruses and air pollutants. And so, we kept working towards deploying more units and successfully sold more than 10 units to our early adopters. We are now working extensively to cater to the demand which we got as pre-orders on our website (www.airth.in). We are also working with a global elevator company to make elevators safer.

Can you please tell us about the technicalities involved and how it is different from others in the market?

The current problem we are facing today is a combination of airborne disease transmission and air pollution. Other air purifiers can protect from air pollution by capturing air pollutants in the filters but can itself become a source of disease transmission due to the microbial growth on their filters. This can again be resuspended into the air because of the high drag force due to the blower.

Whereas, we have developed the world’s first anti-microbial air purifier which works on the IIT Bombay patent filed DCD mechanism i.e. deactivate-capture-deactivate. It deactivates the pathogens inflight using ionization, UVC, and photocatalysis and has been optimized for higher residence time and intensity. Next, it captures viruses and fine particles using mechanical filtration assisted by inductive forces. The last step is deactivation that takes place due to OH radicals formed in the process of photocatalysis at disinfecting wavelength.

Since we are in the age of smartphones, how are you leveraging this technology?

Our antimicrobial air purifier is completely IoT-enabled. We use this technology to monitor crucial parameters such as real-time ambient air quality, humidity, and temperature.

As per CPWD guidelines, the relative humidity should be in the range of 40%-70% and temperature in the range of 24 to 30 degrees celsius to minimise the risk of airborne disease transmission. Our air purifiers rightly monitor these guidelines. We can analyse the data history and thus can take the necessary steps to maintain these crucial parameters in the advised range.

The device is handy enough to allow users to update it just like they update their mobile and laptops to get additional features. Currently, we are also working on remote diagnostics. This will allow us to check for any malfunctioning from anywhere in the world without having to physically attend to the device.

“The device is handy enough to allow users to update it just like they update their mobile and laptops to get additional features. Currently, we are also working on remote diagnostics. This will allow us to check for any malfunctioning from anywhere in the world without having to physically attend to the device”

Who are your target audience in India?

Our target markets are hospitals, restaurants, and offices. Precisely, we are targeting places where the chances of disease transmission are much higher. We are mainly concerned about OPD areas in hospitals, meeting rooms in offices, and sitting areas in restaurants.

What’s your vision for the Indian market?

We truly believe that the COVID-19 pandemic brought with itself several instances of awareness and now people are much more concerned about the air quality around them. The WHO has also been warning the world about future pandemics. Thus, we all need to be prepared for such an occurrence along with safeguarding ourselves against the long-term effects of air pollution.

We believe organisations will be responsible to provide clean and pathogen-free air to their customers and employees just like they provide clean water today. This is important to help revive the economy with collective efforts.

What are your strategy and plans to promote AiRTH in India?

AiRTH, in a nutshell, is here to function as a confidence booster for any organisation. Our technology induces confidence to help businesses & organisations restart with the post-COVID work life without any fear of contracting an airborne disease. Eventually, we are helping them boost productivity at their workplace and gain higher revenue.

Do you think the government needs to promote this sort of technology for the larger interest of the people?

Yes, our technology is in the larger interest of the general public. Hence, we think the government should promote this sort of technology. We have deployed our anti-microbial air purifier at various government agencies. We are in touch with different departments in the government and we are hopeful it will be deployed at a mass scale for the larger benefit of society.

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