Why This Air Purifier Designed by Software Engineers Is the Next Smart Home Gadget You Need
For Mila CEO and Co-Founder Grant Prigge, air quality is a personal matter. After discovering the poor air quality in Shanghai was harming the health of his family, Prigge decided to dig into the nitty gritty behind air purification and create what would be a purifier nothing short of the best for his family.
"Everyone buys a purifier for different reasons," said Prigge. "Some people have pets and somebody in the house is allergic to pets. Or there's pet odor in the house. Other people are highly asthmatic. What we found was that everyone has a slightly different need for their purifiers, and most companies try to sell one purifier that does everything."
To create an air purifier that is customizable yet friendly to users, Prigge, alongside two other fathers and entrepreneurs, set out to make a product that would revolutionize the air purification game. Together, they came up with Mila, the air purifier that is the smartest, most intuitive, and cutting-edge air purifier that money can buy.
The Mila is capable of predicting and analyzing all kinds of air quality data including PM 2.5, PM 10, humidity, temperature, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), carbon monoxide, and more. The result is an easy-to-use purifier that takes all the calculations out of your hands, and tells you precisely what it's doing when it's whirring in the background, all from the control of your smartphone.
"Air purifiers are a product where there's no easy intuitive way to understand how it's working," said Prigge. "People don't have any easy way to judge it, so we thought the first thing we had to do was give people an intuitive way to understand how that purifier was working. It wasn't just to make a smart product, but fundamentally we want that product to understand how long it will take to take your air quality from A to B, similar to a thermostat."
The Mila is exactly so — although it presents the user with tons of information all within the touch of a smartphone button, it is at its core a simple air purifier that does all the hard work for you. An adaptable air purifier that works differently when it's in different settings (i.e. living room, kitchen, laundry room, master bedroom, or TV room), the Mila reacts by studying your home size, your home setting (urban versus rural), and even your neighborhood outdoor air quality. It then incorporates all this information to work automatically to freshen up the air quality in your room.
When in "Automagic" mode, the purifier uses the data it collects to set a fan speed that will take your air quality index to a healthy level. There are also settings to choose from, like Quiet mode that reduce fan speeds when you're in the room, and the Bubble Boy mode that allows Mila to "do whatever it takes to make your room particle-free, regardless of the noise level," as it says on the app.
There are even modes that become available depending on the room the Mila is in: Users can set a sleep schedule for bedroom-located Milas, as well as take advantage of the Turndown Service mode that deep cleans your bedroom an hour before bed, or the Whitenoise mode that turns the Mila into a white noise machine. These customizable functions were all inspired by customer feedback, which also led Prigge and his team to create Mila's most standout feature: Different filter choices.
Prigge explained that air filtration depended a lot on trade-off analyses, as HEPA filters and activated carbon — two must-have layers in any air purifier — work differently, with the former targeting particulates like pollution, pollen, and dust while the latter catches gases and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). "If you want to have higher VOC filtration, that's going to come at the expense of your particulate filtration, so you're always making these trade-off analyses," said Prigge. As a result, the Mila team's seven filters carry different types of HEPA filters and activated carbon blends. From "The Overreactor" to "The Home Wrecker," Mila shoppers can choose from seven filters to best suit their needs, all engineered specifically to target a specific air quality goal.
Even more impressively, the Mila is an air purifier that gets smarter over time with new software updates released regularly. "We had the software mindset when we were building (the Mila)," said Prigge, who cut his teeth in the tech industry. "Our product is constantly evolving. The level of what the product can do today versus what it can do just nine months ago is crazy." One of the latest updates to the Mila included a new ability to analyze the humidity in the room and alert users to potential mold growth; another calculates the speed with which air quality is increasing and tells you to close your windows if they're open.
And the Mila won't stop evolving — some new updates that are coming include the ability to tell when and for exactly how long you should open your windows in order to lower your indoor VOC and carbon dioxide levels, as well as the ability to tell you exactly how much longer your current filter will last (and when you should replace it). More controls, like being able to set individual Milas to different modes in multiple-Mila homes, are also on their way.
The Mila is currently available on its website or for $358 on Amazon, with the latter's price incorporating the Basic Breather filter that comes with it. Soon, shoppers will be able to order individual filters, too, an option to be rolled out within the next few weeks according to Prigge. The end goal, as Prigge put it, is to reimagine air purification. "It's a simple, rudimentary product but there's so much opportunity," said the CEO.
Indeed, the Mila is a smart home gadget that offers more possibilities for fresh, clean air than any other in the market. Shop it below.
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