With more than a nod to NASA and James Dyson, French designer Mathieu Lehanneur's Bel-Air purifying system uses plants to keep the atmosphere inside your house clean from nasty pollutants. The pint-sized air-filtration system acts as a miniature greenhouse, stripping the benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from inside your home using three natural filters.
The Bel-Air uses the leaves and roots of the plant and a humid bath to strip the pollutants from the air and purify it. The idea came from plant research done by NASA back in the Eighties when they were looking for a way to keep their astronauts safe from the polymer-saturated environment found in space travel.
Lehanneur developed the filter-free filter alongside Harvard scientist David Edwards, and describes his invention as being "to the American and Asiatic common filter appliances what Dyson is to regular vacuum cleaners."
The Bel-Air is currently available as a prototype, and is expected to go into production in 2009, but Lehanneur would like buyers to test his machine and report back so that the finished article will be even better. You will be able to see it at MoMA in New York in February 2008, as part of the Design and the Elastic Mind exhibition. [Dezeen]