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The End is Near for Communal Airplane Breathing Air

by Allie Moore

Aug 17, 2015

© Tea | Dreamstime

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A teenager from Canada may be considered the new travel genius. In May 2015 at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for high-school students with big ideas, a 17-year-old named Raymond Wang presented his innovative entry: a device that will help reduce and erase the presence of pathogens in stagnant airplane air.


After the Ebola outbreak of 2014, Wang was inspired to explore the transmission of diseases, especially in such close quarters like airplanes. Although Ebola is not airborne, many diseases (like SARS and the H1N1 virus) can be passed among passengers in planes from a single sneeze. Thus, Wang explored the possibility of developing an airflow system that constantly cleans and purifies the air, eliminating harmful toxins and pathogens that lead to the transmission of deadly diseases.


In current planes, airflow is directed into the general cabin, in no specific direction. However with Wang’s idea of inserting fin-like devices into air inlets, air can be redirected to each passenger. Thus, each passenger would have his own “personalized ventilation zone.”


This fairly inexpensive option ($1,000 per plane) can be installed in planes overnight and reduces airborne germs in cabins by 190 percent.


As the winner of the competition, Wang was able to file a patent for the device. Here’s hoping travelers will be on their way to cleaner air and fewer travel-related sicknesses.



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