Wair, the anti-pollution scarf for cyclists
At the origin of every success story in business there is the germ of an idea, and Wair, a French startup currently developing an anti-emission scarf for cyclists, are no exception to this universal truth.
The path towards this anti-pollution scarf began with a disturbing story. Some years ago, Caroline van Renterghem, founder of Wair, was cycling to work in the Paris region as she did every morning, however, this particular morning van Renterghem never made it into work as she found herself unable to breathe.
This is not an unusual occurrence as statistics show that 7 million people worldwide die each year as a result of poor air quality, that is to say 13 times more deaths than those caused by car accidents.
After her misadventure Caroline embarked on a war against pollution, at least for the well-being of cyclists. Seeing that emission masks were neither comfortable, fashionable, nor really effective, she decided to launch Wair.
Wair, apart from being a clever pun, is a promising solution arising from the intersection of IoT (Internet of Things) and fashion. Caroline’s background was in the fashion industry, which is why Wair is far from being a simple anti-pollution gadget, in reality it is also a fully-functional item of clothing.
How does it work? Wair is a scarf, comprising a device that continuously measures the quality of ambient air. When the user (or rather the carrier) enters a polluted area, the device sends a notification to their smartphone advising the user to wear their scarf. The wearer can then breathe through the scarf for minimum protection, or a combination of the scarf and the device, which also includes a filter, for maximum protection. The scarf is connected in tandem with a mobile application, which enables the device to have access to all the data measured and collected by the scarf.
The scarf will be available in several models, for men, women and children as well as in different colours and ranges, with prices varying from €49 to €199. A prototype model without the accompanying measuring device will go on sale this summer, and the complete model will be available for pre-order this year with delivery expected before summer 2017.