A new breathing mask that filters out air-pollution has been developed by a New York based startup.

The clear, plastic mask allows people to see the wearers face, and can be reused every day, unlike paper air pollution masks that need to be constantly replaced.

The mask is even able to record air quality data and collect it for analysis, which could help researchers develop ways to better protect people from air pollution.

The company behind the mask, O2O2 facewear, is part of a Urban-X, a business accelerator in Brooklyn which is focused on "shaping the future of cities through technology and design."

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The founders of O2O2, who grew up in New Zealand, decided to develop the mask after traveling the world and living in global megacities.

Air pollution is linked to seven million premature deaths annually, according to the World Health Organization.

"It blew our minds," the founder wrote on their website.

"We looked at the existing options on the market and were horrified.

"Facemasks and respirators are effectively repurposed 1960s technology that is fundamentally flawed.

"We knew we had to do the right thing. And we did.

"We created a modern hi-tech solution that makes clean air available to everybody," they said.

According to Engadget, the mask is about the size of a camera and is lighter than headsets such as the Oculus Rift, but it's still only at the prototype and O2O2 facewear is looking to make it even smaller and lighter.

In contrast to standard rubber face masks that can become smelly because of nose and mouth moisture, the O2O2 mask circulates air around the face with two fans on either side.

Filters in the fans clean the air before it blows, and they need to be changed every 40 hours depending on how high pollution levels are - which is still less frequent than for cloth masks.

The fans also clear up any fog that forms on the clear plastic, evaporating it away.

Facemasks and respirators are effectively repurposed 1960s technology that is fundamentally flawed.

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Men with beards don't need to shave to use it, as the mask doesn't form an airtight seal on the skin.

The mask doesn't need to be airtight to block out air pollution because it's designed in such a way that the air circulating inside it keeps chemicals away from the nose and mouth.

One of the most interesting aspects of the mask is that it can create a large air contamination database from all over a city, potentially leading to air pollution maps. The mask will be priced at $100, which could make it appealing to sectors that encounter air pollution regularly, such as construction, painting and fire rescue.

O2O2 is also trying to carve a niche in the fitness market, as athletes already use training masks to improve their endurance, and they might benefit from the mask's data collection features.

The masks can even have different designs, so they may become a customizable fashion statement.

HOW IT WORKS

The mask is about the size of a camera and is lighter than headsets such as the Oculus Rift, but it's still only at the prototype and the company behind it, O2O2 facewear, wants to make it even smaller and lighter.

In contrast to standard rubber face masks that can become smelly because of nose and mouth moisture, the O2O2 mask circulates air around the face with two fans on either side.

Filters in the fans clean the air before it blows, and they need to be changed every 40 hours depending on how high pollution levels are - which is still less frequent than for cloth masks.

Men with beards don't need to shave to use it, as the mask doesn't form an airtight seal on the skin. The mask doesn't need to be airtight to block out air pollution because it's designed in such a way that the air circulating inside it keeps chemicals away from the nose and mouth.