Privately held research and development laboratory Separation Design Group, LLC (SDGroup) has developed the world's smallest oxygen machine. The O-Pal Personal Beverage Oxygenator is a handheld appliance that extracts oxygen from the air and injects it into beverages to improve flavor.
The patent-pending device harvests oxygen directly from the air around us. To accomplish this, O-Pal employs a proprietary filter material which temporarily traps nitrogen molecules while allowing oxygen molecules to flow through to the machine's self-contained reservoir. The captured nitrogen is then expelled back into the air. The result is a quarter-liter charge of high purity oxygen, four times as concentrated as that found in the atmosphere.
When injected into beverages through the detachable diffuser O-Pal's nano-size oxygen bubbles react with flavor and aroma molecules to smooth the bitterness in coffee and tea, mellow the tannins and sulfites in wine, liberate the natural zest of processed juices, and rejuvenate tap and bottled drinking water which frequently contains artificially low levels of oxygen.
Although O-Pal's basic technology was developed for larger-scale medical and industrial applications, the key to its consumer appeal is its small size which is enabled by the rapid cycle time of the oxygen extraction material which SDGroup co-developed with one of the world's largest chemical companies.
According to SDGroup founder Doug Galbraith, O-Pal was conceived when the firm's scientists discovered that oxygen, from devices they were developing for other projects, improved the flavor of coffee and wine.
"Everybody knows that wine tastes better when it's aerated during decanting," Galbraith said. "Oxygenation makes it better yet. When we found out about the oxygen cocktail craze going on in Europe, we decided to develop a personal-sized consumer product that's attractive enough for use in your dining room and rugged enough for use at the coffee shop or club."
In an effort to move O-Pal out of the laboratory and into the marketplace, the company has launched a $45,000 campaign on the Indiegogo crowd-funding web site: http://igg.me/p/275833. Proceeds from the campaign will be used to ramp up to full-scale production. O-Pal assembly will take place in the company's Waynesburg, PA facility. First deliveries are scheduled for April 2013.