For hundreds of millions of Indians, intense air pollution is a fact of life. In 2019, the nation’s air quality index was five times higher than the World Health Organization’s recommended exposure levels.
Such poor air quality is widely recognized as a major risk factor for many physical and mental health conditions. Recent research from The Lancet shows once again that its impact on India is significant: in 2019, air pollution was responsible for the deaths of 1.67 million Indians, leading to US$36.8bn in economic losses. Critically, over one third of those deaths were attributed to household air pollution.
That’s why a team of designers and engineers in frog’s Bangalore studio, along with frogs from Milan and Madrid, decided to tackle the problem of indoor air pollution. After conducting initial field research and market analysis, the team identified four key experience principles to drive the conceptualization and design process.
Breathable: Air pollution makes even normal breathing feel difficult, so the solution must make breathing feel more effortless.
Natural: Industrial pollution has caused the problem, so the solution must rely on natural and sustainable materials and processes as much as possible.
Proactive: Many people are simply unaware that the air in their homes is polluted, so the solution must actively inform users about air quality to enable them to take appropriate action.
Affordable: The majority of air filtration systems on the market are unaffordable for the average Indian consumer, so the solution must be less expensive.
After conceptualizing multiple possible solutions, the frog team decided that moss, which effectively filters carbon dioxide and particulate matter, was the perfect natural material to build around. By housing the moss in a connected shell along with various air quality sensors, the team created an integrated filtration and feedback system equipped to provide users with real time air quality data through both mobile and web touchpoints.
This natural, elegant concept further informed the product and brand development, resulting in Vyoh—an intelligent and sustainable biophilic filtration system that requires minimal maintenance and is always on. As this product is targeted for the Indian market, the name ‘Vyoh’ was created by combining two Sanskrit words related to atmosphere – ‘Vyuha’ and ‘Vayu.’
A typical Indian household has approximately 22 – 60mgs of particulate matter. A Vyoh panel of 470x940mm can eat up to 40mgs of dust and 74gms of CO2 everyday. Based on existing data, a single moss wall of 900 x 1500mm can help to reduce dust and greenhouse gases everyday for a standard 2 BHK apartment in Bangalore, India.
Unlike traditional air purifiers, Vyoh is a discreet and stylish functional element in the home. When manufactured, Vyoh would be roughly half the cost of electric air purifiers on the Indian market, with an initial estimate of ₨4500 ($59/€50).