Toaster ovens. Universal remote controls. Uh … the Clapper.
All household items that A) you probably own or owned but B) never worked as promised.
Also on that list: the air purifier, an allergy-season standby that seems to work off a combo of optimism and placebo.
Enter Molekule, now available for preorder, a new type of air-purifying device that breaks down pollutants — bacteria, viruses, mold spores, allergens and VOCs — using a combo of LED lights, nanotech and some bona fide, hardcore science.
According to co-founders Dilip Goswami and Jaya Rao, Molekule can substantially improve the air quality in a 600-square-foot room in about 30 minutes. “We’ve heard, after a few days, that people see real health improvements and say the air ‘feels crisper,’” says Goswami, who adds that, in early beta tests, Molekule was able to lower symptoms of allergy and asthma sufferers to those of a non-allergy sufferer within a week of use.
“We’ve been researching this for over 20 years,” says Goswami (you can see the science behind it here). “I grew up with asthma and allergies. My father is a well-known scientist in solar energy — he thought there had to be a better way get rid of air pollutants than carbon filters. So he took some research he had done for water purification and applied it to air.”
Unlike the fiber-based HEPA filters in most current air purifiers, Molekule uses a combination of light-emitting diodes (replicating the sun) and some nanotech-coated fabric to break down the various pollutants. And Molekule is cylindrical, which minimizes its footprint and allows the device to suck in air from 360 degrees. It’s made of steel and a bit hefty — you’ll be placing this on the floor — but a leather handle makes for easy transport.
The device offers three speeds: silent, boost and an auto mode that determines the best power based on the air quality and room size. In a limited test at the office, the boost mode was certainly louder, though far less of a nuisance than, say, an air conditioner.
The first Molekule units will ship in 2017. Preorders start at $499 (the MSRP is $799) and also include a free year of filters, which the device — paired with a smartphone app — will automatically order when needed. Otherwise, it’s $99 per year for unlimited inserts.