We often hear about the harmful and to-be-avoided effects of volatile organic compounds, especially when it comes to household paints and cleaners. But VOC's also once hampered astronauts aboard the International Space Station, making fresh produce brought up to space ripen too quickly. Born from this problem, NASA engineers devised what would later become an effective consumer air cleaning solution...
At $800 the Airocide is priced in the same realm as other serious environmental treatment appliances like the IQ Air HealthPro Plus (which truly did change my better half's allergy-stricken life). Yet this device sticks out...in a good way, wrapping the NASA-licensed technology within arguably the easiest on the eyes external casing in the category. Air purifiers and air cleaners tend to earn the designation of "got to live with the ugly design for the benefits", but the Airocide shares more in common in form with a designer wireless audio speaker than your typical air treatment appliance.
The FDA-approved device, sometimes seen in industrial form in doctor and dentist offices, forgoes traditional multi-stage filtration – in fact, there are no filters to clean or replace within at all. Instead, the Airocide's is filled with a "densely packed matrix of highly reactive catalysts [titanium dioxide coated]" inside (they look like rigatoni pasta, as shown in the video above), which captures and converts wayward particles into nothing but a little water vapor using high-intensity germicidal lamps. It's like a hi-tech, miniaturized bug zapper, but designed to eliminate mold, fungi, viruses and bacteria in the air, alongside remove harmful gasses from household sources (aka "new product smell") without producing any residual ozone.
The technology itself has years of testing with various studies citing Airocide's efficacy. But as they say, "the proof is in the pudding" (or Kleenex), and I'm left very curious whether this beautifully designed air cleaning device could replace the huge footprint of our current air purifier. If truly effective, the $800 price tag seems a reasonable tradeoff for the comfort of a sniffle-less household, even if my bank account still seems allergic to the figure.