India’s state-funded motorcycle helmet promises ‘fresh air’ for cyclists in battle against winter smog

As India’s capital New Delhi prepares for winter — and the acrid smog season that comes with it — the government is promoting a motorcycle helmet equipped with filters and a fan on the back that it says can eliminate 80 percent of the contaminants to the person breathing inside.

State agencies have pumped thousands of dollars into Shellios Technolabs, a startup whose founder, Amit Pathak, began work on the helmet in a basement in 2016.

That was the year of the first headlines about the stale air that makes New Delhi almost unbreathable from mid-December to February, as the bitter cold traps dust, vehicle exhaust and smoke from burning garbage. crops in nearby states.

“Inside a house or office, you could have an air purifier,” said Pathak, an electrical engineer.

“But the guys on the bike don’t have any protection.”

So his company designed a helmet with an air purification unit, equipped with a replaceable filter membrane and a battery-powered fan that runs for six hours and can be charged via a Micro USB slot.

A man stands next to a motorcycle while wearing a futuristic looking black motorcycle helmet.
A promotional image of the Shellios Technolabs Air Filter Helmet from the company’s website.(Supplied: Shellios Technolabs)

A 2019 test report seen by Reuters shows the helmet reduced levels of lung-damaging PM2.5 airborne particles to 8.1 micrograms per cubic meter, from 43.1 micrograms outside.

Affordability, the next big hurdle

India’s Ministry of Science and Technology says the helmet offers “a breath of fresh air for cyclists”.

That may not come too soon in a country that last year was home to 35 of the world’s 50 most polluted cities.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.