Published: 16th June 2021
This Kerala start-up's negative ion zapper can make large spaces free of the Coronavirus
Alappuzha-based start-up Allabout has created India's first large-scale negative ion-based air conditioning device to kill the COVID virus through a period of intensive research
A year ago, the Alappuzha COVID Control Room had a set of volunteers who had flown back home due to the nation-wide lockdown. Sujesh Sugunan, Shyam Kurup, Boniface Gasper, Balu James, Rahul Roy and Linshad Latheef worked for different organisations in different parts of the country but had grouped together since the 2018 floods. Today, they are the Directors of Allabout Innovations, a company of internationally networked scientists, who are working towards the large-scale eradication of the Coronavirus with their product, the Wolf Airmask.
“The control cell is where all our brainstorming started,” says Boniface Gasper, Chief Scientific Officer, “We have had a social network since the flood, so the core team is from Alappuzha itself. Alappuzha was the first place in India to get COVID after Thrissur. We were working closely with the control cell at the time. We had a lot of support from Collector M Anjana. We helped set up the war room for the district using Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology.”
GADGET GAME: The device has been purchased in nearly 40 nations
In August 2020, Allabout was incorporated as a company. The Wolf Airmask is an add-on device which helps condition the air. Unlike your average AC, it can go the extra mile and help make the environment pollutant-free. Most standard fumigation processes involve some form of chemicals and the filtration itself happens only inside the chamber. But Allabout claims to use a straightforward mechanism which emits negative ions that are capable of rupturing the virus.
While negative ions are used around the world for a number of reasons, including in schools in Japan and paraplegic centres where people are prone to diseases, thus far, its application has been limited to spaces within 100-200 sqft. The Wolf Airmask introduced a major innovation by offering the same technology to spaces that are around 1000 sqft, allowing institutions to sanitise spaces where more than 400 people would convene.
ALL IN: The mask has the potential to condition larger spaces
“The main aim was immediate problem solving,” says Sujesh. “These were our efforts to actually eradicate the virus. Yes, we have preventive measures like masks but this is looking at the larger picture. This is a standard technology across the globe but is only available at much higher costs, coming up to around 6 to 7 lakh. We offer Wolf Airmask at a cost-efficient rate of ₹50,000 globally.”
The technology that has previously been deployed in hospitals around the country, is being used for the first time on a large scale. The team explains, “We feel obliged to the government and our filled with pride that the Indian Air Force Medical Hospital has purchased the Wolfmask. They have made taken 20 orders from Delhi and 16 from Thiruvananthapuram. Recently, Indian Oil has purchased it for all their bottling plants.”
Allabout’s research spanned a period of around 8 months. "With the support of the government, Startup India and Kerala Startup Mission, we made proposals to the Indian Council of Medical Research which guided them to conduct testing at Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology," says Noble Sam, Head-Partnerships and Affiliations. Since RGCB is an internationally recognised ILAC lab, they received orders from nearly 50 countries around the world.