Student ingenuity may soon result in Mexico producing an innovative, widely available protective face mask that shields the wearer from Covid-19 and other infectious germs, is ergonomic, reusable, and best of all costs under 50 pesos.
A team of Mexican student designers at the Jesuit University of Guadalajara have produced schematics for a transparent mask that they say will not only be safe but environmentally sustainable and socially responsible. According to Miguel Huerta, a researcher at the institution who is the student team’s leader, they are seeking to contract with manufacturers who can produce the mask for a retail price of under 50 pesos.
Huerta’s Twitter account recently posted the mask’s schematics, developed by students Michelle González and Paulina Ramírez, which showed how the final design could be secured to the face using two adjustable bands.
The mask is still in the development stage but it promises to have a reusable protector to be made with recycled materials — the team is exploring using PET plastic and silicon as possible materials, to have anti-humidity and anti-fogging features and, best of all, to guard the wearer as safely as would an N95 mask, a product that meets United States air filtration standards.
In an interview with Vogue México, Huerta said the university would administer the patent process and sign contracts with manufacturers to begin producing the mask in the coming months.
The mask has similar features to the widely publicized Leaf product, currently being crowdfunded on the Indiegogo.com website. Both will be made of clear plastic, will be reusable, and will have a higher degree of protection for wearers than the surgical and homemade masks that many people now use.
However, the Mexican team’s product will not have the same level of protection as promised by Leaf masks, which are expected to provide protection analogous to an N99 mask along with automatic sanitization features using UV light.
Creators González and Ramírez told Vogue that their mask will not only create jobs but protect the environment since it will be reusable. That may be a big factor in its favor given that disposable masks and latex gloves are ending up on some beaches and in municipal sewer systems.
A typical hospital worker in a Covid-19 infectious environment may have to change protective gear as many as 16 times a day, according to a National Autonomous University researcher.
The mask’s creators also believe their invention will also serve an important social purpose, allowing wearers to communicate with others more effectively, since it will allow others to see their facial expressions better than under a cloth or paper mask that obscures the nose and mouth.
Sources: Vogue México (sp)