Every Breath You Take

A Brazilian designer’s mask that converts what you exhale into electrical energy
Energy

What if using sustainable energy did not demand dependence on the sun, water or wind? What if you could charge your phone by the simple act of breathing? This might be closer to reality than you think. A Brazilian product designer has developed a concept device that converts the wind energy generated by our breathing into electrical energy. Called Aire, it is a concept mask that contains minuscule wind turbines. These transform the air we breathe out into electrical energy, and the energy thus generated can be used to charge small devices.

Currently in Mumbai to speak about his concepts, designs and inspirations at TEDx Gateway, João Paulo Lammoglia says that the device is not yet ready for use. “We are progressing rapidly but still falling short of technology in generating enough energy for the concept to work. In the near future, though, this device will be up and working,” he says. The device was designed in 2011 during Lammoglia’s post graduate programme in ‘Sustainable projects’ at Pontifical Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro. Apart from its being a form of sustainable energy, Lammoglia says that because it depends only on the act of breathing, one can use it anywhere, 24/7.

Since a young age, Lammoglia, who is from a family of engineers, was always interested in designs. However, as an introvert, he found it difficult to market his ideas. But when one of his professors believed that he had a winner in Aire, it was submitted to Red Dot Design Awards, a well-regarded international design competition, where he won the ‘Best of the Best’ award. “My goal is to create concepts to inspire people to create other ideas. An idea is good enough [only] when shared,” says Lammoglia. After designing Aire, Lammoglia has moved on to designing other products. Among his other ideas is a pacemaker that uses energy derived from heartbeats to recharge itself. So this pacemaker’s battery will not run out, and there will be no need of an invasive surgery to change its power source.

Asked about the inspiration of his ideas and the manner in which he goes about designing products, he says, “I take notes while observing the difficulties people face. And when I go back home, I try to think of ways to help them. I love to work with designs. First, I sketch them, and later design [them] on 3D software. I even make model prototypes because I need to see how it works and looks.”