A US company that specialises in making clothing with built-in filters pivoted to help stop the spread of COVID-19
Spotted: Hazel and Carlton Solle founded the G95 clothing company three years ago to make scarfs with built-in air filters, for people who wanted to avoid air pollution but did not want to wear masks. Today, as the coronavirus pandemic ravages the world, the company’s idea seems highly prescient.
The Solles launched the company after Carlton became sick on a business trip to China, and was told that high levels of air pollution may have been the cause of the illness. Solle was reluctant to wear a mask, so the pair began designing and manufacturing scarfs with built-in filtration. They soon found there was a ready market for the scarves from people with health conditions such as autoimmune disorders, cancer, and allergies, as well as those wanting to avoid smog and smoke from wildfires.
Today, the company is making masks for FEMA and some hospitals but is also developing more products for consumers. One of these is a hoodie with a built-in air filter, which uses two types of nanofiltration technology blocking up to 99.75 per cent of particles larger than 0.1 microns, making it more effective than some N95 masks (coronavirus is roughly 0.125 microns in size).
The built-in mask can be pulled tight using a cord at the back of the hood, and the hoodie can be washed around 50 times before the filtration efficiency begins to decrease. According to Carlton Solle: “There’s an entire halo of protection in the hood of the hoodie.” the company also sells protective goggles that can be combined with the hoodie for even greater protection.
The global shortage of personal protective equipment has led to a large number of innovations by an army of individuals and companies, in an attempt to provide protection to those most at risk. Some of the innovations that we have seen include a crowdsourced design for a 3D-printed ventilator and an origami-style face shield that can be made at home.