Mila: The refreshingly thoughtful air purifier

Created by The Mila Team

Say hello to Mila — the air purifier that makes maintaining your home's air quality as intuitive as your thermostat. Currently available in: Australia, Singapore, China/Hong Kong, and the UK and ship within the week. Currently on preorder in the EU. Please email us at support@milacares.com with any questions. Standalone filters are currently on preorder in Europe.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Mon Jun 29 '20 Announcement
about 1 year ago – Mon, Jun 29, 2020 at 03:21:09 PM

Dear fellow air breathers — 
 

Milas are officially Europe-bound! 

 

Our first container load of shipments to all European backers have cleared customs and are currently on their way to our warehouse in London! 

 

Here's what you can expect next: 

For backers in ...

- Europe: This batch of 932 units is expected to land in Europe on July 28. We'll work with our shipping partners to clear European customs and duties, which we'll handle on our backers' behalf for seamless delivery. Those in the UK can expect their units around the first week of August, with varying transit times for other countries.  You'll have an opportunity to change your address up until the time your pledge is ready for processing at the warehouse, and will receive a tracking number once it's with your local courier.


- US/Canada:  Both shipments are currently on track to land in Moreno Valley, CA for West Coast Backers on July 2, and Chicago, IL for Midwest/East Coast/Canadian Backers on July 7.  Currently, both ships are in international waters gliding across the Pacific.  You'll have an opportunity to change your address up until the time your pledge is ready for processing at the warehouse, and will receive a tracking number once it's with your local courier.
 
 
 
- Australia:  We expect Mila units to land in Australia the week of July 20. Shipments are currently awaiting customs clearance and are scheduled to load this week.  You'll have an opportunity to change your address up until the time your pledge is ready for processing at their respective warehouses, and will receive a tracking number once it's with your local courier. 

- China/Hong Kong: Last but certainly not least, we locked addresses for shipments to China/HK earlier last week and those shipments are currently being prepared to start going out in early July. Be on the lookout for tracking numbers as they ship. Hint: some of you might be the first to get your Milas. 

 

Some shipping FAQs: 

 
- What was the cutoff date to be included in this first batch of shipments? If you finalized your Backerkit survey by April 30, your perks will be part of these initial batches. If you finalized your survey after then, your pledges will now ship out in mid-July.

- How can I change my address?Please go to http://mila-igg.backerkit.com and use the email address associated with your Indiegogo account to log-in and change your address.

- When will I receive a tracking number? You'll receive a tracking number once your Mila is with your local courier.

- Which courier will be delivering my package? This will vary by region. Due to COVID-19, our shipping partners have seen many local couriers shift operations — they will select the courier that can get packages to our backers the quickest at the time they’re ready to hand off packages for that last-mile delivery.

 

In other news ... 

 

- Mila App: The Mila app is currently under review by the App Store.  This process is expected to last for another week, and we will have apps in both the App Store and Play Store by early July. 
 
- Alexa/Google Home: Development on both platforms are well underway, and we are currently testing out the Alexa skill with our beta testers.  We expect to start testing out Google Home in early July.

To cleaner air for all —
The Mila Team

Fri Jun 12 '20 Announcement
about 1 year ago – Fri, Jun 12, 2020 at 03:24:48 PM

>>continued from part I on Thunderdome Challenge: Mila vs. Molekule

Clear Air Delivery Rate (CADR)

Unlike most in the industry, Molekule doesn’t publish its CADR. Various reports speculated it had a 144 m3/hr CADR. That’s not terrible, but it’s certainly not good for a $799 device.

So when we got the lab report we did a double take. It came in with a CADR of 77 m3/hr. We actually asked the lab manager to run the test again. We thought something must have been wrong. He did, same results (76 m3/hr). It also means that instead of having a coverage area of 600 sq ft as Molekule reports, an air purifier with that type of CADR is best suited for a room no larger than 100 sq ft.

How Mila Stacks Up: It wasn’t even a fair fight. Mila’s top performing particulate filters, The Basic Breather and Big Sneeze have over 5X the performance, with 447 and 416 CADR m3/hr respectively. Across all 7 filters, Mila had an average CADR of 339 m3/hr. Even Mila’s most densely packed carbon filters had over 3X the performance.

 

Particle Cumulate Clean Mass (PCCM)

What was more concerning is after only 3,000 mg of particle loading Molekule’s CADR dropped to just 19 m3/hr — an 80% reduction in filter efficiency. It failed to meet even the lowest P1 rating, meaning it has a *very* short filter life. In fact, based on Molekule’s purported coverage of 600 sq ft, its filter wouldn’t even last a month.

How Mila Stacks Up:  Mila once again blew Molekule out of the water on this one. All 7 of Mila’s filters outscored Molekule in filter life.

As a general rule of thumb, the higher the HEPA efficiency, the longer it lasts. Our H14 Overreactor and Mama-to-Be filters had the longest life — still retaining 65.59% of their performance after a massive 12,000 mg of particle loading, well above a P4 rating.

The H13 Big Sneeze and Critter Cuddler also came in with a P4 rating. Both the H12 Basic Breather and the Rookie Parent were rated P3 and came in just a hair short of the P4 rating, retaining 46.40% of their original efficiency after 12,000 mg of loading. The H12 Home Wrecker, which has less HEPA surface area due to the additional layer of honeycomb carbon, had the lowest lifespan, retaining 49.67% of its efficiency after 5,000 mg of loading, still double that of Molekule.

 

Formaldehyde Removal Rate

Molekule touts its Formaldehyde and VOC removal rate so we assumed it would perform well here. However its formaldehyde removal rate was also ?, coming in at only 29.80%.

How Mila Stacks Up: Our top performing Formaldehyde filters, the Home Wrecker and the Overreactor had 3x the performance with a 95.60% and 96.60% Formaldehyde removal rate respectively. These include a modified carbon blend specifically targeting formaldehyde. Even our general purpose carbon filters in the Rookie Parent, Critter Cuddler, and Mama-to-Be all had higher Formaldehyde removal rates.

 

TVOC Removal Rate

Molekule’s TVOC removal rate was decent. But considering the hype and price tag, it was a let down. Its TVOC removal rate across a cocktail of nine VOCs was 77.17%, ranging from 61.29% to 80.00% on each.

How Mila Stacks Up: While a closer race, Molekule was still no match for Mila.  Our most densely packed carbon filters, the Home Wrecker and the Overreactor, had a TVOC removal rate of 92.81% and 97.89%, respectively. Our average TVOC removal rate across our 5 carbon filters was 86.72%.

 

Formaldehyde Cumulate Clean Mass (FCCM)

One of Molekule’s claims is that PECO is superior to activated carbon for VOC and Formaldehyde filtration because carbon filters eventually get saturated and need to be replaced (which is true). After how poorly Molekule performed on the particle filter lifespan test, we wanted to see how it stacked up on the Formaldehyde lifespan test. Unfortunately our lab manager said the Molekule had such a low Formaldehyde removal rate they couldn't even run this test on it. It requires a minimum FCADR of 40 m3/hr, which Molekule failed to meet. 

How Mila Stacks Up:  Both of Mila’s Formaldehyde-targeting filters, the Home Wrecker and Overreactor, achieved the highest F4 ratings, with the Home Wrecker retaining 92.5% of its performance after 1,500 mg of Formaldehyde loading.

 

Here is a side by side comparison of how Molekule stacks up relative to each of Mila’s sevens custom filters (click here for a larger image).  Note that results may vary +/- 10% betewen tests.

 

Overall Product Comparison

In addition to performance, Mila represents a better overall value, with a per-unit cost that is 1/3 that of Molekule’s.

Mila pricing based on Indiegogo pricing

 

Conclusions

Mila: 4 Molekule: 0

Mila was the clear winner in this matchup, outscoring Molekule on every single metric. Here are some of the conclusions we have drawn from these tests:

 

  • PECO appears to be a negative ROI technology. Across a range of tests it performs worse than HEPA and activated carbon and costs significantly more.
  • Because the particle efficiency dropped so dramatically when loaded, we suspect it's not the PECO filter, but Molekule’s “prefilter” that performs the bulk of its particle filtration. Why? Lower efficiency filters (like those found in pre-filters) have a much shorter lifespan than higher efficiency filters.
  • While we cannot confirm or deny Molekule’s assertions that PECO can “destroy” bacteria and viruses, these results seem to indicate it would have a negligible effect either way. First, it has such a low CADR it doesn't capture the bulk of the particles. Second, what particles it does capture appear to be from the prefilter.
  • There appears to be a significant gap between what Molekule ascribes to and its actual performance, particularly with the price point of $799. At that investment level, you could purchase three Milas and achieve 9x the aggregate performance.

 

— The Mila Team

 

Fri Jun 12 '20 Announcement
about 1 year ago – Fri, Jun 12, 2020 at 03:24:25 PM

Dear fellow air breathers —

At Mila, our goal is to make the best air purifier ever. This means that we are always approaching our work with a healthy dose of skepticism and a mildly neurotic level of curiosity. That’s why we use an agile approach to test and iterate everything we do.

We love that many of you share the same level of curiosity. To date you have sent us over 2,500 questions/comments across a wide range of topics. One recurring theme has been asking for our opinions on product x,y or z. So we had an idea: let us make this thing a thing. We are kicking off a series of benchmark tests on a range of leading purifiers to see how Mila stacks up. We call it the Thunderdome Challenge.

Many of these Mila will dominate (humble brag), others will be a tight race, and some we might fall short. But we promise we will always communicate our findings openly and transparently, and that our conclusions will be driven by systematic testing and real data. And even when we fall short, we will acknowledge it and use those findings to help us prioritize areas we can improve on.

We also recognize that there might be areas we may have missed in our testing, and would welcome any feedback or suggestions. But without further ado, let's introduce our first contestant ...

 

Contestant #1: Molekule

 

Of all the purifiers you have asked us about, we get the most questions about Molekule. So we figured it was the perfect candidate for the inaugural Thunderdome Challenge. As many of you know, we’ve tried to be polite / keep our reservations about Molekule to ourselves, especially as we didn't have any test data. Our opinions were based on a) reading their studies (which we felt were misleading), b) the Wirecutter and Consumer Reports reviews (which were bad), c) the report from the advertising watchdog National Advertising Division (NAD) which rejected all 26 of Molekule's 26 marketing claims (which is really bad), and d) the most recent report from NAD requiring Molekule to retract nearly all its claims (which is really, really bad).

But as you know, we’re big fans of specificity so we decided to put Mila and Molekule in the Thunderdome for a few weeks. We ran a whole range of tests and this may be one of the most comprehensive third-party studies ever done on Molekule, as neither Wirecutter nor Consumer Reports have access to the type of test chambers or testing equipment we do.

 

Methodology

We put Molekule through the same level of testing that we put each of Mila’s filters. For all tests, we use China’s GBT 18801-2015 and 1888-3002 standards. As we’ve stated before, we feel these are the most comprehensive in the world right now. The margin of error is typically +/-10% and the battery of tests includes:

 

  • Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) — CADR is the grandaddy of performance measures for residential air purifiers. It’s performed over a 20 minute interval to determine the volume of particulate a purifier can filter in a standard 28.5 m3 (1,008-cubic-foot) test chamber.

  • TVOC Removal Rate — TVOC, or total volatile organic compounds, refers to a combination of gases/chemicals that are commonly found in our home’s air. Offenders can involve everything from paints, plastics, furniture, and even cooking. But the bulk comes from you: human breath, sweat, and perfumes account for over 50% of the VOCs found in most homes. The “TVOC Removal Rate” uses a cocktail of nine chemicals most often found in the home, and tests are done over 60 minute intervals in a 30 m3 (1,059 cubic feet) test chamber. We then repeat this test with each individual chemical. The nine chemicals included in these tests are: benzene, toluene, butyl acetate, n-undecane, ethylbenzene, p-xyleneou, m-xylene, o-xylene, and styrene.
  • Formaldehyde Removal Rate — Formaldehyde is one of the most commonly present household gasses, found regularly in furniture adhesives, paint and flooring. It’s an irritant that can cause discomfort in eyes, noses and throats, and in some cases, even lead to cancer. This test is similarly conducted over a 60 minute interval in a 30 m3 (1,059 cubic feet) glass test chamber. It's not included in the standard TVOC test because it’s a much smaller molecule that’s harder to filter and requires different lab settings and testing equipment.
  • Particle Cumulate Clean Mass (PCCM) — PCCM is used to measure the longevity of a particle filter. The PCCM test rates air purifiers into four categories based on how long the particle filter lasts, from “P1” to “P4.” P1, being the lowest, means a filter retains >50% of its efficiency after 3,000 mg of particle loading. And P4, being the highest, means a filter retains >50% of its efficiency after 12,000 mg of particle loading. The higher the score, the longer your filter will last.
  • Formaldehyde Cumulate Clean Mass (FCCM) — FCCM is similar to the PCCM test, but instead of loading the filter with increasing amounts of particulate, you load it with increasing amounts of Formaldehyde. It’s used to test how long the VOC/carbon filter will last. Filters are rated “F1” to “F4”. F1, being the lowest, means a filter retains >50% of its FCADR after 300 mg of Formaldehyde loading. And F4, being the highest, means a filter retains >50% of its FCADR after 1,500 mg of Formaldehyde loading. The higher the score, the longer your filter will last.

 

Performance Highlights

 

TL;DR

Molekule had a negligible CADR, at 77 m3/hr. More concerning, what little performance it had degraded 80% with only 3,000 mg of particle loading. Based on their marketing we expected it to perform far better on Formaldehyde and TVOC removal. However its Formaldehyde removal rate was also negligible at 29.80%. Its TVOC removal rate was decent at 77.17%, but given the hype and cost we feel it is a negative ROI technology. HEPA and activated carbon filtration perform far better at a fraction of the cost.

>> continued in Part II of updates due to character limit

 

 

Mon Jun 8 '20 Announcement
about 1 year ago – Mon, Jun 08, 2020 at 04:39:40 PM

Dear fellow air breathers —

 

Milas have officially left the building! 

 

 

We sent our first container loads of shipments to all US/Canada backers (3,315 units to be exact). They are currently awaiting customs clearance as they make their way to their new home.  

We appreciate everyone's patience as we have all navigated uncharted waters these last few months. With COVID-19, it seems like every day brings a new, unexpected challenge.  Our latest was the additional paperwork and process for customs due to HEPA/PPE-related export restrictions. Everything is in order but we expect the customs process to take 3-7 days vs. the typical 1-2 days. From there, our shipping partners will coordinate with your local delivery couriers to get your Milas to you.

 

 

Here’s what you can expect next:

 

For backers in ...

  • US/Canada: Once Mila units land in the US, they’ll first clear customs before making their way to warehouses in Moreno Valley, CA for West Coast backers on July 2, and Chicago, IL for Midwest/East Coast/Canadian backers on July 7. You’ll have an opportunity to change your address up until the time your pledge leaves the warehouse, and you’ll receive a tracking number once it’s with your local courier. We've added a map below to show expected transit times for each region.

 

  • Europe: Our next batch of shipments will set sail for Europe (932 units) at the end of this week/early next week. Similarly, once they land in Europe, we’ll hand them off to our shipping partners after they clear European customs and duties for transport to our warehouse in London (which Mila will be handling on our backers' behalf).  You’ll have an opportunity to change your address up until the time your pledge leaves the warehouse, and will receive a tracking number once it’s with your local courier.

  • Australia: We plan to send out shipments to Australia next week. Once they land in Australia, we will handle customs and duties on our backers’ behalf before handing them off to our local shipping partner. You’ll have an opportunity to change your address up until the time your pledge leaves the warehouse, and will receive a tracking number once it’s with your local courier.

 

Some shipping FAQs:

 

  • What was the cutoff date to be included in this first batch of shipments? If you finalized your Backerkit survey by April 30 (this applies to more than 90% of you), your perks will be part of these initial batches. If you finalized your survey after then, your perks will ship out the week of June 29.
     
  • How can I change my address? Please go to http://mila-igg.backerkit.com and use the email address associated with your Indiegogo account to log-in and change your address.
     
  • When will I receive a tracking numberYou'll receive a tracking number once your Mila is with your local courier.
     
  • Which courier will be delivering my package? This will vary by region. Due to COVID-19, our shipping partners have seen many local couriers shift operations — they will select the courier that can get packages to our backers the quickest at the time they’re ready to hand off packages for that last-mile delivery.
     

 

Fun facts:

 

  • Mila will be shipping to 1,836 cities across 87 countries
     
  • In total, we’ll be shipping around 300 unique SKU combos of Mila units and filters
     
  • The Overreactor was the overwhelming crowd favorite — smart choice for protection from ALL the things!
     
  • Each Mila unit goes through a multi-point inspection before being loaded for shipping. Get a glimpse of the process on the factory floor below and the units ready for shipping

 

 

We'll be back with more shipping-related updates once each wave of shipments go out (Europe, and Australia)!  We can’t wait for you to meet your new housemates (and would love to hear what you think when you do!). ?

— The Mila Team

 

Mon May 25 '20 Announcement
about 1 year ago – Mon, May 25, 2020 at 12:26:57 PM

Dear Mila fam - we wanted to give you a quick update on what our team of elves has been working on. It's like the night before Christmas over here so if we're a little slow to reply please forgive us :)

First, our backer community continues to blow us away — starting with our beta testing fam. We are humbled by the time, effort, thoughtfulness and care they have put into Mila. They've joined our Mila Slack channel and it's been so much fun getting to know each of them and getting their feedback in real time. We've also enjoyed getting to know all their pets too :)

Just to let you know how epic this team has been, check out Jonathan's unboxing video below — we have some Jedi-level beta testers on board. 


Over the last two weeks we've also been running smaller quantities as we wait for the bulk of our filters to arrive this weekend, with the remainder to come next week. So we are looking good to have ALL US/Canada pledges starting shipment by the end of the month, with the EU, Australia, and China to follow a few days later. All systems are a go!

These smaller runs and the feedback from our beta testers have helped us identify some bugs and issues we needed to solve and also areas where we can continue to improve. Luckily, no show stoppers, but we wanted to run through the list and share some of the feedback from our Mila beta fam. (Sorry for the detail, but you know how we are. ?)

 

One major thing we identified was the need to expedite our assembly line QC check for all the sensors. We have so many sensors in Mila, our first runs were taking way too long. Our firmware ninja squad built a kickass Factory Mode to give diagnostic checks for all major components on the line. As a result we've been able to reduce the time to test each unit by 68.75%.

 

 

We've got to say, the display is killer. It came out so good, even by our standards. We think you'll love it. We also updated some UI for different device modes — you can see a few screens snapped by our beta testers.

Display capture by one of Mila's beta testers  — we have a few fun easter eggs for backers to discover :)

 

We will also say the Mila in black is ??. We admit we HATED the idea at first but our crowdfunding tribe spoke, and you were right. Our kids immediately wanted the black versions for their rooms.

We did get some comments that the filter door was a little fiddly to align, but still a great experience overall (our beta testers have given this a 4.5/5 rating so far ?). We are going to be looking at some running changes on that door in a few months.

 

 

 

We've prioritized making Mila packaging as environmentally friendly as possible — no scratchy styrofoam here. We do, however, need to put the Mila unit in a polybag for this run. We have a killer biodegradable fabric bag but they aren't able to deliver it in time. We're sorry about that. We have a deep aversion to plastic bags, but it does ensure your Mila stays pristine during shipping. Some beta testers pointed out the plastic bag made it a little hard to take it out of the box. Nothing major — just wanted to give you a heads up.

We'll also be shipping with filters pre-installed in your units. They will be vacuum sealed to keep them fresh so you'll need to take them out and remove the vacuum bag before use.

One beta tester had a big dent in his box when it arrived. Luckily, Mila was ok. Another had a broken filter guide. It looks like that was due to a large lateral force. As a precaution, we are going to double box all pledges just to be on the safe side.

 

 

 


Performance on the filters are looking solid, and all our beta testers have commented on how substantial the filters are (we've also made some slight edits to them that have increased air flow efficiency even more).

 

 

 

 

 

Our beta testers pointed out a bug we had in the registration process that led to a retro '90s-era screen of blue hyperlinks. ? We'll have this all sorted out, but also wanted to take a moment to explain our registration process. While a few of you may find it slightly more cumbersome, it's for your safety and security.

We are using OAuth 2.0 for our authentication framework. As such, no user credentials are stored within the Mila app. In a nutshell, OAuth is currently the gold standard in user authentication and allows a content provider (Mila) to assure the application/server that the client (you!) fits an identity without having to know the details of that identity (e.g. the username and password). It does this through the use of Access Tokens and Refresh Tokens.

So what the heck does all this mean? Four extra clicks ? When registering, you will verify your email that will link you to a secured webpage where you'll create your password. Then, you'll login to the Mila app like normal.

We also learned that Mila doesn't like AOL. We found that our authentication servers flagged these as fake — we're sorting this out. :)

 

 

No major gotchas from beta testers in WiFi pairing across multiple router types, which is ?, with an average pairing time of under a minute.

 

 

 

 

 

We'll let you know when units start shipping out along with an update on where we stand with the above — we know everyone's excited to get their Milas and we can't wait to get them to you either. 

To cleaner air for all,

The Mila Team