Designed to combat jet lag

Dehydration caused by dry cabin air in aircrafts can lead to a number health effects, including jet lag and fatigue. As a former flight attendant, Cobalt’s client experienced the problem first hand. But more importantly, he thought of a solution; an ingeniously simple idea of using a person’s own breath to ‘hydrate’ the air they breathe in.

From this, Cobalt brought human-centred design and accountable product design engineering to turn the idea into a comfortable and effective travel essential.

The HumidiFlyer product integrates a special medical hygroscopic filter within the mask. It works without any power, only needing the wearer’s own normal breathing cycle to operate. The product traps expired moisture from the passenger’s exhalation breath, and in turn humidifies dry cabin air as it is inhaled back in through the mask.

The universal-fit mask also integrates a number of key features to ensure comfort and convenience. A strong and robust polycarbonate shell is combined with a soft and flexible over-moulded silicone edging that conforms to the user’s face, providing a secure yet comfortable fit. An adjustable elastic strap is fitted with a quick release buckle for easy fitting or removal of the mask. The strap is positioned on the mask to allow the user to find their most comfortable strap arrangement – above or below the ears.

Care and maintenance are simple – the filter is easily removed from the mask and both can be washed, keeping the mask fresh for ongoing air travel.

DESIGN ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Comfortable wearable product suitable for extended usage on the face
  • Simple, intuitive operation incl. quick release strap attachment and simple filter exchange
  • Innovative engineering design and integration
  • Easy care and maintenance
  • Minimised part count resulting in reduced production cost
  • Simplified production assembly process

COMMERCIAL IMPACT

  • Significant increase in HumidiFlyer product sales
  • Increased brand awareness resulting from user posted social media content
  • Single SKU providing simple supply chain and logistics management

FOCUS AREAS

  • Anthropometric analysis and application
  • Industrial design
  • Product Engineering
  • Prototyping
  • Testing and Evaluation
  • Tooling management
  • Animation and product visualisation
  • Packaging Design
  • Consumer Product Design
  • Kynan Taylor
  • Graeme Marshall
  • Chris Morrish
  • Andrew Fanning

Keeping Comfort in Mind

Development of a wearable product demands a unique set of challenges that must be overcome to ensure the widest user range, comfort and acceptance. A product worn on the face exaggerates these issues further. Creating a product that was simple and easy to use and that fitted a wide range of users was a considerable focus for the design team. We also wanted the product’s visual design language to express users as ‘smart frequent flyers’ rather than being seen as unwell, or requiring medical treatment.

Extensive development of the concept design was undertaken during the early stages of development especially around key user-experience touchpoints, such as the mask fitting and removing the mask, and filter replacement. Consideration of human face anthropometrics was also a key focus for the early development work, and this was coupled with development of product features that provided conformance and adaptability to meet the target demographics.

Advanced surface modelling was undertaken to generate the mask’s complex form and geometry. The individual component geometry and their interfacing elements were integrated along with design for manufacture (injection moulding, over-moulding) and assembly considerations.

Since its launch the Australian designed and manufactured HumidiFlyer mask has become increasingly popular amongst frequent travellers, including business people, celebrities and high-profile singers. See their Instagram here.

Related projects