Wynd’s air purifier has broad ambitions and a short reach

The Wynd smart air purifier is designed to create “bubbles” of fresh air — small, one-person respites from pollution, allergens and other detrimental particles floating in the ether. It feels almost dystopian, a world in which we’re required to arm ourselves against the air around us, but the product clearly struck a nerve, with more than 3,400 supporters backing the project to the tune of $604,792, late last year.

What’s most compelling about the product is where it goes beyond a simple air purification offering. There are a million of those on the market already, and a single-serving, water-bottle-sized system can only do so much. By connecting Wynd to a mobile device, however, the company is able to offer some interesting insights into the purifier itself, as well as the world around us from which it’s ultimately designed to protect us.

Making bubbles

The Wynd system is comprised of two key parts: the primary air purifier and a small monitor that slots into the rear of the device. The piece is removable and can be clipped onto articles of clothing, offering up insight into air quality on the go. In a sense, the system is too distinct pieces that serve separate but related functions.

It’s a pretty clever design, and the startup clearly put a lot of work into packing as much functionality into as small a form factor as possible. The resulting package is conical, with a top that flares out.

This bit houses a front-facing fan inside a ring that lights up when power is turned on and adjusts color based on air quality readings. The system has an “Auto” setting, which changes the speed of the fan based on the surrounding air, or you can just change the airflow manually by twisting the top of the system.

The majority of the rest of the filter’s surface area is covered in holes for air intake. The surrounding air passes through a small, circular cloth filter before being blown out the top, with around half of fine particles and 70 percent of larger, coarse particles removed, according to the company’s press materials. The back of the system can be twisted off and removed for easy access to the filter and the rechargeable battery that’s housed inside.

It’s mostly a pretty nice bit of industrial design, though there are a couple of key spots where things fall short. The kickstand, which makes it possible to angle the air output toward your face, is a bit precarious and really only offers a single position. The USB-C charging slot, meanwhile, is positioned up front, which puts it in the way of the kickstand, should you want to plug the system in while in use.

Really though, the biggest issue is the purifier’s size. The idea of a portable air filter is fine, but in real-world use, it’s ultimately not going to clean that much. Hence, the almost objectivist notion of “bubbles” — small pockets that don’t contain the harmful particulates of the air surrounding them. Really what that means is, in order to get the…

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