Pollution has been a serious issue for our communities and the planet since the industrial revolution in the 19th century and the problem has since accelerated with industrial progress and our dependance on fossil fuels. Air pollution particularly causes breathing problems and a host of health issues such as cardio vascular disease, diabetes, weight gain and a recent study even links air pollution to kidney diseases.
Georgian entrepreneurs Bacho Khachidze and Lasha Kvantaliani decided to do something about the problem and are behind one of the most promising green startups launched this year. The founders have created Treepex, an innovative portable device the size of an asthma inhaler they claim transforms polluted air into fresh oxygen.
“I knew I had to take action when I started having troubles breathing during summer in my hometown,” Lasha Kvantaliani, CTO and co-founder of Treepex said. “I knew it had to be technologically innovative, portable and easy to use, so you can take it anywhere you like at any time.”
The device is the first of its kind anywhere in the world and may be the short term answer to dealing with polluted air and associated health risks for those exposed to it.
But how does it work exactly?
“[Treepex] replicates the tree’s process of transforming polluted air into fresh, mineral-enriched air,” CEO and co-founder Bacho Khachidze explains in an interview with Huffington Post. “We use CRISPR technology to extract the DNA of actual trees to recreate the living cells that are responsible for photosynthesis and compress them into the device’s cartridge, which emits fresh, clean air for the user.”
The Treepex product itself seems very easy to use and understand even if the CRISPR technology itself seems complex.
The device uses three different types of “cartridge”, each supplying the same amount of oxygen as a fully matured tree to the wearer. You can choose between Oak, Maple or Pine leaves. The device allows you to connect to your phone via an app so you are able to see the status of the cartridge, monitor your lung activity and check how much carbon dioxide you have converted into oxygen.
The Treepex device also comes with a wireless charger which removes the need for any power ports and the charger can fit in your pocket quite easily as it’s about the size of a smartphone. It’s also made from stainless steel making it durable, is completely recyclable and is water-resistant. The charge time is also short needing only 30 minutes which can last up to 24 hours, perfect for people who are on the go.
Now while Treepex seems to be a great solution to pollution, and in some ways it is as it’s helping people live healthier lives amidst air pollution, it won’t solve the causes of pollution which of course is the tougher problem to tackle. In addition, the target market for Treepex would consist of people who live in heavily polluted countries such as China where the levels of pollution are dangerously high and where clean, pollution-free air is something people would be willing to pay for.
The other thing about Treepex is that when worn, it kind of looks like you’re in a sci-fi movie and so not ideal for people who are self-conscious. However wearing it isn’t a far cry for those people already wearing surgical masks in public to protect the from air pollution.
However, overall the Treepex seems like an excellent piece of technology for people who are seriously affected by dangerous levels of air pollution, giving them the opportunity to breath clean oxygen and live a better life. And if it really does what the founders claim it does, then this won’t be the last time we’ll be hearing about Treepex.