Airhead Pollution Mask


Designing A Clean Air Solution For Polluted Environments


   Design for Manufacture
   Certification Testing
    Supply Chain Support

Sector: Consumer Product 

Behind the Mask

Behind the Airhead mask is a team of university friends Harry Young, Alex Smith and Elliot Denvir, with an entrepreneurial flair, spotting the need for an effective pollution mask for the active commuter. The passion and energy that the Airhead team have are what makes this product special. Air quality has become increasingly important within busy cities. The impact that this has on our health was the inspiration for this revolutionary mask.

Their mission is to encourage people to be more active outside and empower people by educating them about air quality and helping them to make choices about their respiratory health.

The Design Challenge

Designing a pollution mask that not only looks excellent but uses proven technology to deliver health benefits to its users is a tall order – but Airhead has done just that!

There is increasing demand for products in major cities to combat air pollution for cyclists and runners. Poor air quality significantly impacts people’s health, potentially causing respiratory infections, diseases, and cancers.

Finding a good fitting, attractive-looking, and cost-effective mask provides the top-tier filtration needed to protect wearers against polluted air.

With a saturated market with many product offerings, the hugely successful Airhead Kickstarter campaign highlighted the demand for a mask that meets these requirements.

Airhead product requirements:

  1. Meet filtration standards
  2. Modular design for easy cleaning and hygiene maintenance
  3. Quick-release ‘mask door’ for ease of conversation and makes drinking and eating easy.
  4. Relatively low profile with an aesthetically appealing appearance and customisable AirSkin options.

Our Design Solutions

Having developed initial ideas and models for the mask, Airhead sought expert help from Realise to design a commercially viable, standard-compliant, manufacturable design, ready for market launch.

It was crucial to evaluate and understand the needs of active commuters. Above all else, the product had to work in every situation, whether running, walking or jumping. It had to be secure at all times inside and out to deliver uninterrupted filtration confidently.

Next, create the technical documentation required ready for submission for laboratory testing. The Airhead project developed when demand for PPE, raw filter materials, and laboratory testing was high, then came the covid pandemic, which highlights the benefit and the need to wear a facemask. However, this posed challenges to the project; our tried and tested industry contact network alleviated this issue. Prioritising the critical product requirements alongside the Kickstarter milestones and budgets, we planned a complete program of work accommodating these unprecedented supply chain issues.

The Delivery

Exploring how each layer within the mask could fit harmoniously with the face was an essential first step to the design process.

Given the nature of the product and its use, cleaning the mask is also a key feature for users. Utilising a modular design for disassembly ensured that all areas could be accessed and cleaned effectively.

The Realise team used three-dimensional head modelling to ensure optimal face fitting alongside vent positioning to improve breathability and minimise leakage around the face seal.

Changing the mask door mechanism to a single latch and adding extra fixing points improved the rigidity of the product and sealing. From here, we were able to re-design the mask door opening operation without causing discomfort.

Using our prior experience with both safety devices and health care products, we were able to work closely with commercial development laboratories to speed up and reduce risk throughout the process. In addition, we ran a series of tests on prototype masks to assess filtration quality, seal, and fit and adjust where necessary to improve performance.

To increase the longevity of the filters, the design team carefully considered the construction and fitting of the outer AirSkin®, exploring a variety of materials and processes such as 3D knitting. In addition, textile development ran alongside the enclosure design, a specialised discipline our team has experience with.

The design team embedded the Airhead branding into the design process was just as important as the technical delivery, and in this case, the logo featuring AirSkin® became the ideal place.

Onward into manufacture, the Realise team, created all technical files and met with suppliers directly to help support Airhead on the final leg of their journey. The Airhead mask is patent-pending across the UK and Internationally, registered in the UK, US, China, and the EU. The outcome of all the hard work is a sophisticated, customisable, comfortable Mask that has been designed to last.

Airhead Testimonial

“Thank you for your incredible work and support in helping us create the Airhead mask. You’ve taught us a huge amount and always gone the extra mile to get things right. We’ve truly loved working with a group of such fantastic, talented people! looking forwards to the next chapter…” – Alex, Elliot and Harry

The Customers

We love working with great clients, and Airhead has been a fantastic team to work with.

They placed their customers’ needs central to every decision and entrusted the Realise Design Team to make technical design decisions. Alongside us, they recognised the functional features that needed prioritising and the time and commitment for iterative prototyping and ongoing laboratory testing required to underpin the certification standards.

It has been a truly exciting and positive experience for everyone involved.

We are so pleased to see the Airhead team successfully launch their debut product! To find out more about Airhead visit their website, Airhead – Revolutionary Pollution Mask – Made in the UK | Airhead.

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