AirShield proposes curtains of air to protect passengers from viruses.
A Seattle-based technology company has developed a product that could help protect plane passengers from the risk of inflight transmissions of viruses such as Covid-19.
The newly presented “AirShield” fits onto existing air vents on a plane creating an invisible ‘shield’ around passengers when the airflow is turned on.
The company, Teague, says the device sculpts the flow of air that ensures any respiratory droplets are retained within a single passenger’s space.
The downward force of the air supposedly drives any exhaled droplets down to the floor before they can reach a neighbouring passenger.
Teague acknowledges that the performance of the Airshield still needs to be tested against coughing and sneezing, not just regular breathing.
Although the product is still in the early phases of development, the simplicity of its design would allow for rapid adoption by airlines worldwide, especially as the company plans to distribute the device by way of 3D-printing.
“The whole point was that this would be really quick to make, certainly because we’re looking at 3D printing, we’re not going to be needing to wait for long lead times for tooling,” said Anthony Harcup, senior director of airline experience at Teague.
“We’re not really reinventing the wheel, we’re harnessing and refining what’s already there.”