The AIIMS in collaboration with the researchers of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi have developed a wearable nasal device which restricts the entry of air pollutants into lungs. Named ‘Airlens’, the two cm device has the capacity to trap pollutants and bring them to safe levels depending on the air quality outside. The use and throw device, which is awaiting a patent, does not need to be attached to anything, said Shashi Ranjan, a researcher at the IIT. Developed by five researchers–Ranjan, Debayan Saha, Yogesh Agarwal, Akanksha Gupta and Harsh Sheth–the nasal filter was today launched by AIIMS Director Randee Guleria. In the beginning, the device would be for children aged above 6 years. At the launch, Guleria termed air pollution a silent killer which was creating a health emergency in the country and stressed on the need to initiate a movement to protect the environment. He also advocated implementation of long-term measures and said the use of nasal filters or air purifiers could only provide short-term relief. “We, along with these researchers, came up with the idea in 2015, following which they invented the device to restrict the entry of pollutants into the lungs.
“However, I have asked them to go to schools to gather evidence about how effective it is. It needs to be seen for how many hours a child can wear it and also if it can be effective for those suffering from asthma,” he said. The team has applied for the patent in the name of PerSapien which stands for saving (per) each (sapien) human life. They have launched and awareness/innovation campaign for children by the name of Persapien Innovation Challenge.
They have also developed an app for monitoring air qality which can be installed on a smartphone and give the user an idea about the air quality outside. Costing less than Rs 500, the device can be procured by applying on persapien.com.
India had the world’s highest number of deaths due to air, water and other forms of pollution in 2015, according to a study published in the Lancet journal last week. It showed that pollution killed as many as 2.5 million people in the country. Most of these deaths are due to non-communicable diseases caused by pollution such as heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), researchers said.