The team has been fortunate to partner with the folks at Blue Skies. Hear from them in their own words about their mission to help the world breathe easier.
At Blue Skies we are developing respirators and software for people living in – and dying from – air pollution. We are helping your child develop more safely in the US, and saving lives abroad.
The Global Crisis of Air Pollution
The World Health Organization calls air pollution the single largest environmental health threat globally. In fact, it causes one out of every eight deaths worldwide. That’s 7 million deaths per year, but until now no one has sustainably addressed this crisis.
At Blue Skies, we’re developing the world’s first respirator and filter designed specifically to prevent the disastrous effects of air pollution. We focus on four crucial aspects of the problem:
- Mobility in Advanced Countries. Living in high-traffic areas (ie many cities) is linked with doubling of asthma rates. Our filters can go into a small device to augment your child’s stroller’s rain hood to filter all major air pollutants that are linked to causing asthma. We even have an app to tell you when air pollution levels warrant using the filter.
- Particulate Air Pollution. Other manufacturers such as 3M do a terrific job of reducing particulate pollutants – found in things like soot and diesel exhaust – and we’ve made sure that our filters and respirators match the best performance in the industry.
- Acid Gases. Airborne sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) convert to sulfuric acid and nitric acid, respectively, once they’re in your throat and lungs. Current respirators that filter these are bulky and fail to filter other pollutants – until we tackled the problem.
- Cost Effectiveness. Other manufacturer’s largest failure is that they cost at least $1.50 per day. Here’s the problem: Many millions of people around the world don’t have electricity, so they use open fires for cooking and heat, which fills their homes with damaging smoke. That pollution kills up to 4 million impoverished people per year – people who typically live on less that $2.00 per day. How are they supposed to afford $1.50 respirators every day?
Engineering Cost-Effective Filters and Respirators
Someday, developing nations will have clean power grids that make air pollution a thing of the past. Until then, we at Blue Skies are using Fusion 360 and other advanced design tools from Autodesk to create products that bring our filter technology to both developed and developing areas.
Our products are especially cost-effective for developing countries. By tailoring our solutions to the problems in different regions, we are helping to reduce healthcare burdens and early deaths. For example, our particulate filter is designed $0.005 – instead of $1.50 – per person per day.
We’re committed to having a strong positive impact. For every product we sell in wealthier countries, we will buy-one-give-one in impoverished regions. We hope to win grants from foundations to enhance these efforts.
Starting at Home, Expanding Abroad
You may not know this, but 10 Americans – mostly children – die each day from asthma attacks. Most of those attacks are caused by pollutants that only we filter. For more context on the problem, check out the National Weather Service’s air quality homepage, which states, “Children and adults who are active outdoors are most vulnerable to the effects of sulfur dioxide.”
To address this problem, we are developing low-profile masks for people suffering from asthma, along with software apps to tell them when air pollution around them warrants wearing a mask. We are also developing athlete-specific respirators to allow runners and bikers to be alongside traffic without tearing their lungs apart from smog and vehicle exhaust. Finally, we are developing solutions for infants to provide them with a more filtered environment while their lungs initially develop. Early feedback from people wanting to beta-test those products tells us we’re onto something big.
Building off of these domestic efforts, we can magnify our global mission through buy-one-give-one by expanding. We are likely to be the most-used outdoor air pollution filter in the US. We’ll be able to tout this in foreign markets, like China, already a $1B market for masks, greatly enhancing out impact in places like India and Africa, helping us fulfill our mission to save as many lives as possible. We’re developing partners in these places already; once we have self-funding or foundation funding in hand, we’ll be ready to roll out quickly.
We’re Blue Skies, and we are giving everyone a chance to breathe as though they live under blue skies. To learn more about our mission, check us out at www.getblueskies.com/.