Consider your monitor if you’re concerned about the germs your family, friends, and (if unmasked) employees breath upon you. Your screen, which is only a few feet away from your face, is the landing spot for many of the particles you exhale, therefore it’s a good thing it can’t catch a virus from you.
But what if your monitor was part of the solution, collecting the viruses and bacteria you exhale and then releasing new, clean air? Air-Clenz Systems, which offers technology that integrates filtration into your monitor or even a laptop dock, is pursuing this idea.
Air-Clenz demonstrated a pair of monitors that had been adapted to employ its filtering system at CES this week. The company, on the other hand, has no plans to enter the monitor market. As a result, the company’s demo devices were off-the-shelf LG and Acer screens that had been modified with a secondary, extra-thick bezel that sucks in particles and spits fresh air out of a series of fans in the back.
Before CES, we spoke with Dr. Ronald Blum, founder of Air-Clenz Systems, and CEO Stuart Sheldon, who stated that the company’s goal is to license the filtering technology to a hardware vendor so that it may be built into new monitors.
Because Air-Clenz isn’t a manufacturer, a partner would purchase the IP and utilize it to make the displays. They also mentioned that the final goods may feature fewer fans and filters than the CES prototypes. If the bezels were incorporated throughout the production process, they would most likely be substantially thinner.
Even though the company displayed monitors and a laptop dock at the event, executives said the technology may be integrated into other devices as well. Images of air filtration boxes that might be placed on each desk in an elementary school classroom or each seat in a cafeteria can be found on their website.
The system, according to Air-Clenz, can filter out 99.97 percent of cough droplets and aerosols. According to a third-party analysis undertaken by Engineering Company Resolved Analytics, the Air-Clenz Computer Monitor would capture and filter around 95% of a user’s exhaled air.
Based on what we know thus far, we contacted Aaron Collins, an engineer who has created aerosol measuring tools and currently maintains a famous YouTube channel where he evaluates masks, for his thoughts on the technology. Collins confirmed that a monitor equipped with this technology should be able to absorb all particles that strike the screen. However, he believes that some expelled particles will not make it to the screen due to buoyancy and other air movements.
“More clean air in indoor settings is always good,” he said. “But there is no published information on the flow rate so it’s hard to say how effective a device like this is. Additionally, I don’t see sufficient evidence of either empirical testing with a real-world device or CFD simulations which includes buoyancy and office/indoor air currents, that support that this is more effective than just a standard portable air cleaner.”
Even if we assume that the AIr-Clenz Monitor collects 95% of exhaled air, it would still be insufficient to replace masks because people don’t always stare straight at their screens. Active air filtration, on the other hand, in a setting where users don’t wear masks or have to take them off to eat, could prevent certain people from contracting infections from their coworkers, whether it’s COVID-19 or the typical cold.
Employee sick days, regardless of the source, have a significant negative impact on a company’s bottom line. Businesses lose $150 billion in productivity expenses each year owing to illnesses spreading throughout the workplace, according to pre-COVID research. Another pre-COVID study found that 70% of workers claimed they would come to work unwell, implying that any office may become a petri dish.
In addition, including the air filter directly into the monitor may make a lot of ergonomic sense for organizations or schools where desk space is limited and a standalone air purifier on each desk is not feasible. The cost of integrating Air-Clenz technology into a monitor is currently unknown, but Sheldon estimates that the price increase will be less than the cost of one employee’s sick day.