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Grad Student Rigs Cheap Alternative To $1,000 Air Purifiers In Smoggy China

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the filtration-station dept.

Hardware Hacking 182

An anonymous reader writes "University of Virginia grad student Thomas Talhelm was living in Beijing on a Fulbright Scholarship during the winter of 2012-13, when air pollution was so bad scientists likened it to a nuclear winter. Those who could afford it were resorting to an expensive solution: air filters costing up to $1,000. Talhem built his own on the cheap, getting comparable particulate count results, and has started a company that both markets the product to middle class Chinese and shows others how to DIY."

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Very original (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47574943)

He straps a filter on to a fan and this is noteworthy? Ok then.

Re:Very original (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47574963)

He straps a filter on to a fan and this is noteworthy? Ok then.

He got similar results to a $1000 product, and told everybody how to do it.

That is newsworthy.

I suspect there are a lot of people in places with a lot of air pollution who would really like to have this.

Kudos to this guy.

Re:Very original (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47575005)

More like people were overpaying by thousands of dollars because until now none of them had the simple idea to duct tape a filter over a fan.

Re:Very original (5, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47575039)

More like people were overpaying by thousands of dollars because until now none of them had the simple idea to duct tape a filter over a fan.

Well, he went as far as confirming he was getting the same particle counts.

His solution was remarkably simple and really cheap. He strapped a HEPA filter to a fan and quickly began to enjoy clean air. A particle counter he purchased confirmed the filter was effective.

He's not saying "I just invented something revolutionary", he's just sticking it to the people selling over prices kit.

And in my book, that gets applause.

Re:Very original (0)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 months ago | (#47575069)

Well, he went as far as confirming he was getting the same particle counts.

He confirmed that the homemade filter reduced particle counts. But I don't see that he compared its effectiveness to filters costing "up to $1000".

Re:Very original (4, Informative)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 months ago | (#47575093)

Right there in the summary:

...getting comparable particulate count results

Re:Very original (2, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 months ago | (#47575227)

Comparable particle counts HOW? right up against the filter? What about over time? Zero details except you MUST go to his workshop for $33 to find out... Fishy...

I have a rock that keeps tigers away, My most recent tiger count shows zero so it's as good as a $10,000 tiger cage.

Need real data, full information on how the test was done and for how long. Anything else is made up BS or misinformation.

Re:Very original (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47575309)

What low IQ dipshit modded this down? Lumpy is right. there is ZERO information backing up the claims.

The internet if full of better designs that use cheaper filters, and some actually have real data.

Re:Very original (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47575329)

If you take a look at his site, it has all the data, comparisons with commercial purifiers, timeframes, and all the other details you are saying are missing. http://smartairfilters.com/index.html#data

Re:Very original (3, Informative)

duranaki (776224) | about 2 months ago | (#47575363)

It's not like they provide NO information. You can check out their website for FREE and see that the reduction test was done in a fixed size room over fixed time and plots the particulates over time. http://smartairfilters.com/ind... [smartairfilters.com] . I won't kid you, it's marketing material, but their graphs are totally better than the ones I've seen on your Tiger-Rock. They also mentioned in TFA that the $33 is for parts costs. Probably just another trick from these shysters.

Re:Very original (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47575427)

He's using the same rated filer and pushing air through it, so it would be expected to have the same count.
Also, the info is on his site.

Re:Very original (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47575475)

It cant be better because he is PUSHING through a filter. filters are designed to have air pulled through it.

Re:Very original (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 2 months ago | (#47575743)

So duct tape it to the back of the fan instead.

Re:Very original (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47576133)

Holy shit, quick somebody do a new Slashdot article with AC's idea!

Re:Very original (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47575627)

Comparable particle counts HOW? right up against the filter? What about over time? Zero details except you MUST go to his workshop for $33 to find out... Fishy...

I have a rock that keeps tigers away, My most recent tiger count shows zero so it's as good as a $10,000 tiger cage.

Need real data, full information on how the test was done and for how long. Anything else is made up BS or misinformation.

If you would stop talking out of your ass for a minute and actually look at the data on his website, you would see that you have no idea what you are talking about. But hey, don't let the facts get in the way of a good rant...

Re:Very original (1)

stonecypher (118140) | about 2 months ago | (#47576233)

Oh stop being a paranoid dipshit. HEPA filters are well understood, aren't made by this guy, and have been being tested by hospitals for fourty years.

"OMFG he claims a hepa filter does what hepa filters do??!!?!? WHY SHOULD WE BELIEVE IT"

Because it's pretty obviously a sensible claim. Duh. Go to Target, spend the $20 it would take to try it yourself, and please grow up a little bit.

I mean seriously, what kind of person thinks putting an air filter in front of a fan doesn't actually filter air? Seriously.

Re:Very original (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 2 months ago | (#47576347)

Curiously enough, my home air purifier consists of an HEPA filter strapped in front of a fan. In a box.

Re:Very original (1)

Albanach (527650) | about 2 months ago | (#47575073)

More like people were overpaying by thousands of dollars because until now none of them had the simple idea to duct tape a filter over a fan.

As you say, none of them had the idea. In a country of 1.4 billion people.

A great many things seem obvious with 20/20 hindsight.

Re:Very original (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 months ago | (#47575097)

Oftentimes, life gets in the way.

Re:Very original (1)

Manfre (631065) | about 2 months ago | (#47575053)

It's odd that people needed instructions on how to tape a filter to a fan?

Re:Very original (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47575079)

In China? Not really. If you're being conditioned that following the rules is good while thinking for yourself is bad and can even get you in trouble, you eventually end up with a mindset like that.

But don't worry, they're already exporting that success model. We're getting there. And, frankly, when I look around me, how people pay for "services" that hardly qualify as a service because they're too closed minded to even fathom how they could do it themselves for free and at little if any expense and effort, I dare say we're already there.

Re:Very original (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47575511)

Name one of the services you're talking about. Any single one.

Re:Very original (2)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | about 2 months ago | (#47575569)

Just guessing now, but maybe he is talking about basic skills everyone should have like, simple plumbing, carpentry, cooking, gardening etc.

Re: Very original (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47575575)

Programs to automatically back up your computer, copy files to a new computer, clean up your history and internet cache, and so on. Yes, people (morons) actually pay for these.

Re:Very original (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47575975)

Making croutons. Making your own pasta sauce. Cooking your own bacon (yes, we now have pre-cooked bacon). These are truly simple things anyone can do, but yet the pre-prepared food industry in the US is HUGE.

Re:Very original (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47576155)

Why pay for sexual services? I got two fully functional hands right here!

Re:Very original (5, Funny)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 2 months ago | (#47575085)

He managed to attach a square filter to a round duct; that's NASA-level ingenuity right there.

Re:Very original (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47575087)

It's odd that people needed instructions on how to tape a filter to a fan?

Well, there was a market for a $1000 product ... apparently nobody else thought of it.

Yes, this is the low-tech solution, but if it works just as well as the expensive one ... it's a damned fine solution.

How have you made the world a better place this week?

Re:Very original (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47575433)

How have you made the world a better place this week?

By having a terrific ass.

Re:Very original (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47575609)

"How have you made the world a better place this week?"

By having a terrific ass.

LOL ... Well, carry on then.

Re:Very original (2)

sjames (1099) | about 2 months ago | (#47575105)

I'm sure people knew how to do that. What they didn't know was that by doing that they could match the results of a $1000 solution. They're no doubt thinking "It can't be that simple, there must be a trick to it". So they sell a pre-made unit at low cost.

Re:Very original (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47575165)

it's not news worthy because people have already done this for years. I have been doing it for years. Just google box fan + furnace filter. Everyone knows this is a cheap trick.

Re:Very original (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47575201)

But you didn't patent it. He is ;).

Re: Very original (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47575423)

So you're telling me he's one of those scumbags? I hate him already. Patenting with prior art available...

Re:Very original (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47576249)

it's not news worthy because people have already done this for years. I have been doing it for years. Just google box fan + furnace filter. Everyone knows this is a cheap trick.

You'd be amazed how many people see my setup in the basement (of the amazingly filthy 80 year old rental home i live in) to clean the air with 2 20" box fans and 20x20 high-MERV filters and are just beside themselves. I put a low-scent dry Febreeze canister in front for extra effect. Simple solutions are often only obvious after you think of them, and not everyone has a knack for that.

Re:Very original (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47575233)

It's newsworthy because it took a grad student to figure it out. Literally everyone with an IQ above room temperature has figured this one out in the presence of a box fan and an air filter, and reports on how it meets or beats filters hundreds of times more expensive have been floating around for decades. This is akin to a Ph.D. "discovering" that life in the desert is dramatically improved by copious amounts of bottled water.

Re:Very original (1)

pla (258480) | about 2 months ago | (#47575293)

He got similar results to a $1000 product, and told everybody how to do it.

I think the problem we have here comes from the comparison to a $1000 product as little more than a red herring.

He strapped a (replacement) HEPA cartridge - A well-proven technology for removing particulates from the air - To a fan. He basically made a "ghetto" HEPA filter. I have little reason to doubt it would work.

I would, however, question how well that $1000 filter performs compared to a sub-$50 Holmes/LG/Honeywell/etc filter. If Talhelm managed to get the same performance from just a replacement filter for one of those strapped to a fan, I would expect "not at all" as the answer.

So we should certainly credit him for his real "discovery" here - That expensive consumer-targetted air filters don't do any better than the Wallyworld special. Anything beyond that amounts to marketing for his new company manufacturing something even crappier than those Wallyworld specials.

Re:Very original (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47575461)

"That expensive consumer-targetted air filters don't do any better than the Wallyworld special. "

It's not the filter, it's the mechanism for pushing air through it that doesn't matter. Same rate of flow through the same filter produce nearly the same results.
A crap filter will still have crap results.
I don't shop and wally world, so I won't comment on their specific filter.

Re:Very original (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47575367)

what's newsworthy to me is that people spend $1000 for a similar product. holy s**t!

Re:Very original (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47576097)

It's about as newsworthy as suicide at Foxconn.
Because there are no suicides here in the west.

Talhelm PhD duct taped a fan to a HEPA filter.
And there are nobody in China that could invent something like that.

BTW, Talhelm [virginia.edu] is wasting his talents pursuing a career in social psychology.
If only we had talents like him onboard during the Apollo 13 crisis, Lovell, Haise, and Swigert would not have needed NASA instructions to hack carbon dioxide scrubbers.

Kudos to every Chinese is a suicidal idiot news update.

assholes everywhere (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47574969)

Wouldn't it be simpler to strap the air filter to the smokestacks where the pollution is emitted? Nah, that'd never work.

Re:assholes everywhere (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47575025)

I'm going to put a piece of hepa filter right by my anus

Re:assholes everywhere (4, Informative)

mandginguero (1435161) | about 2 months ago | (#47575273)

Wouldn't it be simpler to strap the air filter to the smokestacks where the pollution is emitted? Nah, that'd never work.

part of the problem is that many homes burn coal for heat, so it isn't just industrial pollution, nor from automobiles, the latter two are present during most of the year, with the former being a problem concentrated in winter.

Re:assholes everywhere (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | about 2 months ago | (#47575397)

part of the problem is that many homes burn coal for heat, so it isn't just industrial pollution, nor from automobiles, the latter two are present during most of the year, with the former being a problem concentrated in winter.

Strapping a filter over the individual smokestacks would help reduce emissions significantly in that case too, especially over time.

assholes everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47575939)

Yeah they're called scrubbers, a well known and often legally mandated invention.

Re:assholes everywhere (1)

Necron69 (35644) | about 2 months ago | (#47576059)

If you'd ever sat in a Beijing traffic jam next to their monstrous, smoke belching diesel trucks, you'd know that factories and power plants are only a part of the problem.

I've been there and air filters or not, I could not live in Beijing with my asthma. One can only imagine the future lung disease/cancer rates we are going to see.

- Necron69

Re:assholes everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47576241)

Wouldn't it be simpler to strap the air filter to the smokestacks where the pollution is emitted? Nah, that'd never work.

That would never work because then the corporations would have to pay for them. /s

Re: Very original (1)

smaddox (928261) | about 2 months ago | (#47574983)

Agreed. Effective at reducing particle count, but not at removing harmful chemicals from the air. Still, much better than nothing.

Re: Very original (4, Informative)

mspohr (589790) | about 2 months ago | (#47575089)

Probably could combine a HEPA filter with a charcoal filter to get both particles and volatile chemicals.

Like this:
http://www.instructables.com/i... [instructables.com]
Or:
http://www.amazon.com/Rabbit-A... [amazon.com]
Lots more here:
http://www.grainger.com/catego... [grainger.com]

Re: Very original (0)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 months ago | (#47575263)

Not with a fan that size. and I highly doubt that a HEPA filter and a fan works. you need significant air pressure behind the fan to get any real filtering volume.

Honestly people buying cheap pleated paper furnace filters and doubling them up over their windows will be more effective. when it can filter 50CFM then I'll be impressed. and that will be for a very small one that can barely keep up with air leakage of a tiny apartment.

Re: Very original (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47575519)

"Not with a fan that size. and I highly doubt that a HEPA filter and a fan works. you need significant air pressure behind the fan to get any real filtering volume."
That sentence makes no sense.
IT's literally nonsense.
Are you unfamiliar with fans? HEPA filters?
Did you spend 1000 dollar on an air filter and are now angry you were a fool to do so?
Have you ever taken apart an air purifier? those fans aren't exactly the most powerful thing on the planet.

Re: Very original (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47575563)

Says the guy that added absolutely nothing to the conversation. From your remarks I am certain you know absolutely nothing at all about the subject.

Lumpy is right. In addition, filters are designed to have air PULLED through not pushed. This "miracle" is built backwards making lumpy's skepticism even more legitimate.

honestly it's hype, the whole thing that is impressive is some kid is making money on seminars teaching people how to do something that a 3rd grade student could figure out.

Re: Very original (1)

Lothsahn (221388) | about 2 months ago | (#47575733)

...and that's precisely what the "overly expensive" Phillips filter does, that he compares himself to.

Re:Very original (5, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47575061)

How very un-American! He could have sold it for 800 bucks, and instead he hands it out for free!

He's been living in Commieland for too long!

Re:Very original (2, Funny)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 months ago | (#47575075)

Hermes Conrad: I order you to dispose of that toxic waste properly, or bribe me. Either way, it'll cost you $500.

Bender: 500 real dollars? That's an outrage! Professor, I can take care of that waste for only $499 and one hundred cents.

Prof. Hubert J. Farnsworth: Hmm, I know that's a rip, but I'll pay for the convenience.

Re:Very original (2)

sls1j (580823) | about 2 months ago | (#47575103)

What un-American??? Seems like he took a leaf out of Benjamin Franklin's book. When Mr. Franklin discovered a more efficient wood burning stove he didn't patent it for the purpose of making sure it would be widely accepted. His design is still being used.

Re:Very original (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47575139)

So Franklin was against the American way of life too?

Won't somebody please think of the Founding Fathers?

Re:Very original (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47576111)

Yet another liberal idiot, who would of been more happy if he had been forced to give it out instead of the freedom to give it out as he wanted. So instead he makes a joke about it.

Re:Very original (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 months ago | (#47575195)

It's because he is a grad student, be nice to the mentally challenged. grad students are people too.

Put your name on it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47574945)

Make sure everybody knows who created this idea.

Otherwise, as with all governments, the Chinese government will just commandeer production and distribution, and take all the credit for bettering the world.

Re:Put your name on it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47574961)

"Talhelm says the goal is not to make money and the cost of the workshops only covers materials, which cost about $33 per purifier. “I’m not putting money in my pockets – I’m paying employees,” six of whom work at Smart Air. “It’s like a social enterprise.” he said."

I think Talhelm would approve...

Re:Put your name on it (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47575091)

That's ... that's ... .that's COMMUNISM!

Re:Put your name on it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47575161)

Talhelm would approve of the government using his work for propaganda?

Where does your parent comment mention money?

obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47574951)

before I even clicked the link I thought to myself "what did he do, hook a filter up to a fan?"

What the hell? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47574957)

How is anybody supposed to make money like that? Won't someone think of the shareholders?

But, seriously, that's pretty awesome and surprisingly simple.

Re:What the hell? (4, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 2 months ago | (#47575045)

Almost all air purifiers are nothing more than a fan blowing through a filter. Thanks to fans and filters being commodity items, there are many retail HEPA air purifiers on sale for close to this guy's price. The article is little more than a cherry picking fallacy.

Next up: Man rigs cheap alternative to $500 Denon patch cable.

Re:What the hell? (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 months ago | (#47575123)

Sure, but where can I get 1 billion hepa filters today?

Re:What the hell? (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 months ago | (#47575279)

China.

Re:What the hell? (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 months ago | (#47575219)

You could just leave your vacuum cleaner running I guess... (even Shop Vacs have HEPA filters available, and they move a lot of air!)

But it makes more sense to filter the air at the inlet if you can, or at least as it recirculates through the HVAC system already built into your home. Check your air filter [walmart.com] once in a while, people!

Re:What the hell? (1)

RealGene (1025017) | about 2 months ago | (#47575961)

Try sleeping next to a running Shop Vac.

Meh (1)

Sqweegee (968985) | about 2 months ago | (#47574975)

He strapped a filter to a fan and managed to filter air... slow news day?

Re:Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47574999)

I think we should get this guy to strap a filter to Slashdot.

It would be cheaper for everyone.... (4, Insightful)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 2 months ago | (#47575017)

It would be cheaper for everyone to just fix the pollution problem by putting heavy restrictions on emissions. Seriously, $1000 dollar air purifiers to remove the debris put in the air to save $0.05 on scrubbers is stupidity of the highest order. In a lot of cases the scrubbers are already on the factories because Chinese law requires them, just doesn't require that they be in operation. In about a year China could dramatically reduce this pollution to western world levels with simple installing or activating scrubbers on smoke stacks.

This continues to show China is a pay for play game, in that you are well connected enough in the communist party and laws and environmental rules just don't apply and it doesn't matter if it kills the little people.

Re:It would be cheaper for everyone.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47575067)

This! It's nice that this guy is sharing his design, but weakening the incentive for middle-class-and-up Chinese to push for better environmental policy might make the world worse off.

Re:It would be cheaper for everyone.... (3, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 months ago | (#47575113)

This continues to show China is a pay for play game, in that you are well connected enough in the communist party and laws and environmental rules just don't apply and it doesn't matter if it kills the little people.

Lol, yea, they make great capitalists, don't they?

Re:It would be cheaper for everyone.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47575189)

And this is different from the US how? Oh yeah, here we have the laws changed for you if you are well connected and rich enough.

Re:It would be cheaper for everyone.... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 months ago | (#47575241)

It would be cheaper for everyone to just fix the pollution problem by putting heavy restrictions on emissions

This implies that they have the capability. Grease the palms of the inspectors, local officials, etc and the government will never know that you are polluting. I could be wrong, but it is also completely possible that the government would need to fix corruption before they can actually attack pollution.

Re:It would be cheaper for everyone.... (2)

mandginguero (1435161) | about 2 months ago | (#47575315)

This is not a simple solution. There are many sources of pollution, which are amplified in winter by homes burning coal for heat. Automobiles are a large source of airborne particulates, and with many small sources it will take awhile to fix, but at least we've seen it can work in cities like Los Angeles.

Re:It would be cheaper for everyone.... (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 months ago | (#47575341)

It would be cheaper for everyone to just fix the pollution problem by putting heavy restrictions on emissions.

- take a look at what you wrote. This sentence is self-contradictory and at best you just didn't understand it.

It would be 'cheaper for everyone' to 'fix pollution' by putting 'heavy restrictions'.

Ok, who is 'everyone', what does it mean to 'fix pollution' and how much do 'heavy restrictions' cost to everyone?

This guy put together a 'low cost solution for everyone' who wants to 'fix pollution' and he didn't force any 'heavy restrictions' on anybody either. So anybody who is actually worried about the pollution can now pay for it to be fixed for themselves.

Now, of-course this doesn't fix overall pollution, but it is a distributed method of fixing pollution locally on a voluntary basis that is provided by free market capitalism (private property ownership and operation without government interference).

As a society progresses from pre-industrial (China before 1970s) to industrial (the last 40 years) its residents become wealthier and more affluent and as they become wealthier and more affluent they can now afford to start thinking about their environment and the best way to fix environment is to allow free market enterprise to market the fixes straight to the public, which then will decide whether it wants to pay anything at all (or more or less) for any such fixes, be it fixes on large scale or small distributed local fixes like this one.

To put 'heavy restrictions on emissions' means to restrict wealth generation in the country that was able to move 350,000,000 people out of poverty over the last 40 years (while the rest of the globe has been moving hundreds of millions into poverty by destroying individual freedom and thus destroying capitalism, destroying the free market).

China will be fine, it will fix its environmental problems and it will do so without advice from the economic failures that scold it here.

Re:It would be cheaper for everyone.... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47575597)

Ok, who is 'everyone',

All people, I would imagine.

  what does it mean to 'fix pollution'
continue reducing pollution in the air.

  and how much do 'heavy restrictions' cost to everyone?

Less then the medical cost, and loss of habitat costs.

Why should polluter be allowed to force their pollution on others for free?
China's pollution is ultimately everyone's pollution.

Ironically, China is moving to greener solutions faster the the US is.

Re:It would be cheaper for everyone.... (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 months ago | (#47575687)

Not as simple as saying that 'everyone' is all people. What is 'all people'? All Chinese residents? All people on this planet? All people that are paying taxes and who will actually be force to pay for this, or is it maybe all consumers of the goods that will have higher prices on them (and likely fewer choices of products) due to these 'heavy restrictions'?

Does 'everyone' include those, who are still in poverty in China (plenty more people are still very poor) and who want to move up in class but who will be prevented if prices for everything go up due to all the new regulations, licensing, taxes and generally growth of government that 'heavy restrictions' assumes?

It's not as simple as saying 'continue reducing pollution in the air'. In the USA when Lyndon Johnson came out with the 'Great Society' crap the level of poverty was very low and falling, then the government stepped in and reversed that trend categorically. The free market was working towards reducing poverty, there was no need for anything called 'Great Society' (and as always, there is no truth in advertising that comes from government, less truth in government advertising than in any other).

Free market capitalism works towards improving the standard of living of the market participants, but a poor economy cannot fix pollution, only a wealthy economy can and you do not make an economy into a wealthy one with 'heavy restrictions'.

Poor economies do not let people even to get their heads up, never mind thinking about such rich problems as not burning coal but instead going nuclear. Interestingly enough, while China is burning plenty of coal (so does USA) but China is building up nuclear power plant capacity and USA is not.

China will fix its pollution by following free market capitalist principles of searching for cheaper sources of energy and nuclear will be the cheapest source.

"Less then the medical cost, and loss of habitat costs." - how living a life of poverty, does not count as a cost to a society? I say it does. A life of poverty doesn't help you with medical costs and habitat costs either.

Why should polluter be allowed to force their pollution on others for free?

- nothing is free, people are paying for the energy, food, water and all other products that they consume and the prices that they pay reflect the economy they are in. By adding 'heavy restrictions' to the economy you are not helping to fix anything, you are ensuring that the economy will be poorer than it could otherwise and thus preventing the fixes, not promoting them.

Ironically, China is moving to greener solutions faster the the US is.

- it is not ironic at all, USA is destroying its economy with all the government and destruction of individual freedoms and China allows individual freedoms and mostly free market capitalism to work its way towards prosperity, which is crucial to having pollution free environment.

Re:It would be cheaper for everyone.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47575653)

I think it was clear his statement was meant to be evaluated in the aggregate or per-capita sense.

It would be less of a total economic burden for the scrubbers to be installed/turned-on at the source than it is for each individual to buy a filters and masks. And that even ignores other additional costs incurred by particulate soot depositing on surfaces/machines/plants/etc.

Re:It would be cheaper for everyone.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47575497)

... and it doesn't matter if it kills the little people.

You overgrown western racist bastard. I bet now that I've called you on it, you'll claim you actually like Chinese [youtube.com]

Re:It would be cheaper for everyone.... (1)

m3000 (46427) | about 2 months ago | (#47575973)

This continues to show China is a pay for play game, in that you are well connected enough in the communist party and laws and environmental rules just don't apply and it doesn't matter if it kills the little people.

The same could be said about the US too.....
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07... [nytimes.com]

Maybe (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 2 months ago | (#47575031)

Maybe China should try reducing the pollution at the source

Re:Maybe (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47575115)

They would. But we're not willing to pay 10% more on the cheap crap they produce for us.

Re:Maybe (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 months ago | (#47575355)

That 10% more would probably just go into the pockets of their rich. It's not like they don't have them there, too. They infest everything.

The story here isn't that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47575253)

a guy put a filter on a fan. The story is that China, the most populated place on earth, has 1.3 billion people who couldn't come up with something as simple as a fan in front of a filter. Let that sink in.

Lots of people criticize this for its obviousness (3, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 months ago | (#47575425)

... but I don't see anybody else saying that *they* actually thought of it before this guy did as a means of solving the problem of China's air pollution.

A lot of ideas are obvious once somebody announces what the idea actually is. Honestly, I think that people who would criticize the inventor simply because of the idea's apparent simplicity or obviousness are being rather snobbish, if you ask me.

But hey.... some might find it comforting to think that such values, which might otherwise seem outdated in today's word, are still alive and thriving in our society.

Re:Lots of people criticize this for its obviousne (1)

DocSavage64109 (799754) | about 2 months ago | (#47575525)

I've already done the same thing. I had an air purifier where the proprietary filter was dirty and clogged. I couldn't find a replacement, so I just used a 3M Filtrete furnace filter trimmed to size. I suppose if you have central air on all the time, just having a good furnace filter would suffice.

Re:Lots of people criticize this for its obviousne (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 2 months ago | (#47575555)

A lot of ideas are obvious once somebody announces what the idea actually is.

In this case it's just plain obvious. Try doing a google image search for air filter fan.

Re:Lots of people criticize this for its obviousne (1)

Ardyvee (2447206) | about 2 months ago | (#47575663)

Yet, nobody else thought of selling it for cheaper to Chinese countries. Heh.

Re:Lots of people criticize this for its obviousne (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47575771)

This isn't something that becomes obvious in retrospect. I think -many- of us know how air filtration systems worked, I certainly did.
Maybe if I lived in China I'd try to be selling the systems cheaply, too :)

Re:Lots of people criticize this for its obviousne (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 months ago | (#47575849)

That you know how it works doesn't change the fact that you didn't actually implement it as a solution for China's air pollution before he did.

Re:Lots of people criticize this for its obviousne (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 2 months ago | (#47576039)

That you know how it works doesn't change the fact that you didn't actually implement it as a solution for China's air pollution before he did.

Of course I didn't. I don't live in China. I live in a country that enforces air purity laws. It's a blindingly obvious solution to a problem I don't have.

Re:Lots of people criticize this for its obviousne (1)

suutar (1860506) | about 2 months ago | (#47575805)

If he's never seen one before, it's ingenious. I've seen one (years ago [motherearthnews.com] ) so it seems obvious to me. *shrug*

Re:Lots of people criticize this for its obviousne (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 months ago | (#47575879)

If it was so obvious to you, then why didn't you suggest it before he did?

Re:Lots of people criticize this for its obviousne (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 months ago | (#47576131)

Go on AliExpress, there are loads of cheap air purifiers with HEPA filters. TFA says "up to $1000", and actually even high end Japanese models are usually much less than that. Chinese manufacturers sell many models that are basically the same as what this guy invented - a HEPA filter strapped to a fan - for $30-40.

I wish they would ship to the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47575509)

I have a Blue Air filter, new $300-400 US , something in that price range. Replacement filters $50-60 for HEPA. Dang.

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