NASA Backs ‘Smart’ Colorfil Air Filters for Next-Gen Spacesuit PLSS

Serionix, a startup fundamentally changing the way we look at air, has received a $750,000 contract from NASA to fund continued development of filters to remove toxic gases from next-generation spacesuit life support systems.

The same technology is on its way into consumer products expected to launch within the year.

Poor indoor air quality is widely associated with significant negative health impacts; however, as awareness of this connection increases, Serionix is committed to making air fresher, cleaner, and safer.

Serionix creates high-performance filters based on a proprietary adsorptive coating technology called ColorfilTM, which changes colors as it removes toxic chemicals and odors from air, while killing viruses, bacteria, and mold.

Based on preliminary testing, ColorfilTM filters effectively absorb pet odors. Through an intuitive, vibrant color change, ColorfilTM lets users know when the filters are working—and when they aren’t.

Colorfil smart filters let you know when they are working (pink) and when they're spent (yellow) with an intuitive, unambiguous color change
Colorfil smart filters let you know when they are working (pink) and when they’re spent (yellow) with an intuitive, unambiguous color change

NASA has awarded funding to evaluate ColorfilTM technology for incorporation into the next generation of spacesuit and Personal Life Support System (PLSS), which is used during spacewalks to keep astronauts safe, healthy, and comfortable.

The PLSS requires ultra-high performance air filtration to eliminate toxic chemicals such as ammonia and formaldehyde. This makes Serionix’s color-changing air filters—built as a surprisingly effective antidote to cat-urine and other pet-related odors—a perfect fit.

“We are excited for the opportunity to work with NASA to send our Colorfil technology into space!” James Langer, Serionix’s President, said.

“What’s truly exciting, however, is how the funding will indirectly support launch of consumer products using the same core technology,” Langer continued.

“Consumers today have almost no visibility on what filters actually do for them—making purchasing decisions difficult, and making it nearly impossible to determine when it’s time for replacement. With Colorfil, we are looking to change that.”

The first phase of Serionix’s project with the NASA SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) program began in June of 2016, and overlapped with the successful beta launch of their ColorfilTM air purifier and HVAC filters.

In this second phase, Serionix will develop a demonstration unit suitable for incorporation into NASA’s spacesuit life support system.

In the meantime, they will leverage partnerships with leading industrial players to launch products in residential, automotive, commercial, and high-end industrial applications.

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Founded in the University of Illinois Research Park, Serionix is commercializing disruptive, color-changing air filters.

Leveraging the same core technology developed for spaceflight and semiconductor applications, Serionix is working to bring the empowering and engaging ColorfilTM experience to consumers in their homes, cars, and offices.