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2017: Time’s list of top 25 inventions
Son’s Asthma Trigger For Device Listed Among Time’s Top 25 Inventions For 2017
It was the mid-1990s. Months after Yogi Goswami migrated from his hometown Delhi to the US for a career in solar energy, he found his baby son Dilip struggling with asthma. Yogi, now a professor at the University of South Florida, began research for a new technology as no existing air purifier offered relief from poor indoor air quality.
Twenty years later, when pollution has become a problem in most parts of the world, his family has found a probable solution: Molekule. Pegged as the world’s first air purifier that completely destroys harmful pollutants — existing technology only traps such particles — the devicehas madeittothe2017list of Time’s top 25 inventions.
“HEPA filters remain the standard technology in existing air purifiers and, unfortunately, many harmful pollutants are too small for HEPA filters to trap. Larger pollutants like bacteria and mold may be collected by such filters, but they remain on the filter surface, multiply and are released back into the air. Because Molekule actually destroys even the smallest pollutants, they are permanently removed from the air you breathe,” said Jaya Goswami Rao, Yogi’s daughter and Molekule chief operating officer.
Yogi went to school in Delhi and got his BS degree in mechanical engineering from what was then Delhi College of Engineering (now Delhi Technological University). Dilip and Jaya were born in the US.
The siblings co-founded Molekule to convert the patented technology developed by Yogi into a consumer product. Their purifier uses patented Photo Electrochemical Oxidation (PECO) technology, basically a light-activated nano filter to create a catalytic reaction on the surface of the filter that breaks down pollutants at the molecular level.
Allergens, mold, bacteria and viruses are all destroyed by this process, and it removes microscopic pollutants1,000 times smaller than a HEPA (high efficiency particulate absorber) filter can.
Jaya claimed third-party laboratories like the University of Minnesota and the Aerosol Research Engineering Laboratory had extensively tested and verified the technology. Also, a four-week study with 49 allergy sufferers was conducted.
“We’re proud to say that the results, which were presented at the ACAAI (American College of Asthma Allergy and Immunology) Annual Conference 2017, showed that after just a week of using Molekule, allergy sufferers experienced a dramatic and sustained reduction in their symptoms over the entire testing period,” she added.
The company raised $10.1 million (Rs 65.13 crore) this year. “Since then, we’ve sold thousands of units,” Jaya said, without revealing actual numbers. Each unit costs $800 (approx. Rs 51,500).
“During the Northern California wildfires, we exhausted our entire inventory in two weeks,” she added.