As nice as it would be to leave masks behind in 2020, the state of the COVID-19 pandemic has ensured that those of us in America will be donning these ever-fashionable items well into next year. So, Honda has jumped on the trend: it’s bringing out a new mask for your car.
Well, not exactly a mask in the traditional sense. The Kurumask (literally, ‘car mask’) is actually more of an add-on to your air filter. Slap it onto your cabin filter, and it’s designed to filter out airborne viruses in under 15 minutes. It’s supposed to work for about one year.
We know COVID-19 is dangerous, but science has not yet determined exactly how dangerous it is in the long term, nor do we have a complete grasp how quickly or efficiently it can spread by air (there are, after all, a lot of folks out there invested in proving that there’s not a ton of viral air travel (that means you, airlines)), but the Kurumask is designed for a whole lot more than that. We’ve all grown a hell of a lot more health-conscious this past year, and I know there are plenty of folks out there like me who start getting paranoid at the slightest signs of illness now. I can’t believe how much random shit I touched without giving it a second thought.
And that’s part of what makes the Kurumask so damn cool. Our relationship to health and our understanding of viral spread has changed. This filter mask reflects that.
In testing paid for by Honda, a Kurumask fitted to the cabin filter of an N-Box microcar set to air recirculation mode killed 99.8 percent of airborne E.coli molecules in 15 minutes. That number increased to 99.9 percent after 24 hours. The mask has tons of microscopic spikes that are designed to catch and damage virus molecules before they can enter a person’s system.
It’s a really cool idea, especially in our current era of public transportation and ride hailing. I’m sure a lot of people would feel more at ease hopping in the back of an Uber if they knew any virus particles in the air will be progressively eliminated, meaning they’ll have a smaller chance of getting sick.