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Pollution mask for cyclists

Miscellaneous 8 926

Francis Chu is an urban cyclist in Singapore who designed a reusable anti pollution mask for cyclists. Filter masks are nothing new, but unlike some of the other more cumbersome replaceable filter designs, the TOTOBOBO mask folds flat and can be stowed in a pocket until it is needed. It basically offers the convenience of a disposable filter mask, with with interchangeable filters. The mask has been ergonomically designed and supposedly can fit the majority of faces from adults down to children of 5 years old.

As evidenced by some of the pictures shown here, the user can tell when the filters have done their job. Look at the color differences of filters that were used in different Asian cities. As Francis points out, “The filter will turn into a distinguish dirty gray to signal that it’s time to change the filters.”

Francis offed me a mask to try out. I don’t live in a big urban area, so my first though was that I didn’t need such a product. Certainly there is no comparison between the air quality here in Greenville, SC and cities like Bangkok, Calcutta, or even Beijing. Yes the air here is probably pretty clean by those standards, but I might be surprised to find that the filter would still change color over the course of many rides in rush hour traffic. It might be worth a try.

If you are interested, read more about the TOTOBOBO mask here and here.


  1. Anonymous December 23, 2008 at 4:19 pm -  Reply

    GREAT product !!

    It will be much better than the industrial masks I often use in London.

  2. Anonymous December 23, 2008 at 8:19 pm -  Reply

    The product is nice and there is definately a need for it in larger urban areas (especially here in Taipei). The only issue I have is that it still looks a bit too….”medical” to become the least bit popular here. Ever since SARS hit there have been numerous “fashionable” masks available. Granted they do not work as well (if at all), but it might be better too up the aesthetics a bit.

  3. tony December 23, 2008 at 8:46 pm -  Reply

    Good point about the “fashionable” aspect. I know some of the users use the TOTOBOBO mask as an inner mask and cover it with their cool or cute looking mask.
    The outer mask provide the “look” while the inner mask provide the seal and the protection.

  4. Anonymous December 23, 2008 at 8:53 pm -  Reply

    The U.S. Olympic track cyclists should have rocked these at the airport. They might not have taken so much flack had they been wearing cycling specific masks.

  5. Yokota Fritz December 24, 2008 at 9:58 pm -  Reply

    Hmm, I should try these in the Bay Area. In my time in Asia, all I ever saw were the medical looking masks, but this was the mid 80s and earlier.

    Merry Christmas, James!

  6. Wey Fun February 2, 2014 at 9:00 am -  Reply

    This mask is still passive – should look at new tech such as ECBreathe (see – active powered adaptor for N95 mask which is much more comfortable and effective.

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