Rare Airs and Rare Earth Elements
When even cities like Berlin and Paris started to market their air as a lifestyle product, the EU came close to imposing a ban. Fine dust was discovered in a large number of containers. But there are more serious conditions in large Chinese cities. The local battle against smog already led authorities to close construction sites and factory operations; even schools are no longer allowed to let children outside. After all, more than 1.6 million people in China die each year as a direct result of the air pollution. What’s ironic about the canned air: The transport mainly to Asia actually compounds the environmental damage.
Clean air – something we take for granted – is a vanishing resource in many other parts of the world. At the same time, it’s enormously important to our health. The WHO traces about 24% of all causes of death to polluted air worldwide. Just like smoking, this air can result in contracting COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Since the disease is still incurable, current studies predict that it could become the third leading cause of death by 2020. The lung disease could slowly turn into a common disorder that might affect every person exposed to polluted air. However, an early diagnosis is crucial to keep the chances of effective treatment high. A long-term, gradual progression of the disease can irreparably destroy the lungs of the affected persons.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is back
In principle, people have realized that vital resources such as water and air are getting scarcer and must be handled with more consideration. At this year’s Austria World Summit, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger highlighted the topic in an emphatic speech on the world stage. Jointly with the United Nations, he founded the R20 Regions of Climate Action in 2010 to support the environmental protection efforts of countries, regions and initiatives. His message: Climate protection affects us all on every level, not just countries and companies but also each individual. More than 90% of humankind are exposed to polluted air. According to a current study by WHO, more people are dying of the effects of air pollution than of AIDS and tuberculosis.
ATMOS – a prototype as the right response
Thanks to enormous feedback from experts in various professions – including medicine, physics, economy, chemistry, data IT – and people affected by diverse pathologies, we can say: ATMOS is not just a response to the requirements of mucoviscidosis patients. ATMOS can be the prototype for several million people instead of just a few thousand. Because gasping for air and the struggle to breathe freely affects many of us – actually us all.
Interweaving and layering various skills, experiences, perspectives and needs is fertile ground for innovation. ATMOS will be a crystallization area where all this is happening. Just as it is already in the development of ATMOS – the medical sector alone divides into multiple disciplines such as robotics, electromedicine, biomechanics, mechatronics, microsensors, medical simulation technology and imaging, 3D printing, personalized medicine and much more. This enables truly pioneering achievements and makes it possible to build a city that functions as a turbine for fresh wind not just on the coasts of Europe.