The 3D printable mask is the first of its kind to feature a see-through front plate to help patients feel less isolated and is 100% free to download.
"A Mask For All," a three-person project created to provide a 3D printable face mask that has gone global, now has created a see-through mask to help hearing-impaired patients feel less isolated.
Seen on social media frequently are healthcare workers taping smiling photos of themselves over facemasks to help lighten the mood during a challenging time for the entire world.
Those who created the "Mask For All" project developed the see-through desgin to not only help show the actual smiling faces of these workers, but to also help those of the hearing-impaired community who were struggling with face masks covering their caregivers' faces.
They developed the design after Manisha Nakade, a general practitioner in Milton Keynes, England, reached out to ask if there was anything they could do to.
"I've been thinking about a design like this to help people connect through smiles," says Co-Founder and CEO of the initiative, Amine Arezki, PhD. "When I heard from a user about the deaf community, I knew we had to do it."
"This new see-through mask design will help hearing-impaired patients who rely on lip-reading for communication," says Tito Melega, ECD of the initiative. "It has the potential to help every patient who already feels isolated not only from their world and loved ones, but also from the only people they will interact with during this painful, and sometimes terrifying, journey."
The team hopes this new contribution to the PPE arsenal against COVID-19 will help doctors and healthcare professionals make a much-needed human connection with their patients, according to a release.
Arezki, a product strategy and autonomous systems expert in Europe, Justin Nussbaum, Ph.D., founder and CEO of an innovative 3D printing startup in Tennessee, and Melega, an executive creative director in California, created and released "A Mask For All" in under a week when first signs of PPE shortages appeared in the media, the release says.
They rely on the participation and power of the open-source community to improve on their design on a daily basis, and on the support from companies like Mills James, a full-service creative media company, and WeProvidePPE.org, an organization taking donations to be used in the manufacturing and distribution of needed PPE front line responders in the COVID crisis.
"Our unique mask design has a completely flat front face where the breathing port angles downward," states Nussbaum. "This large flat section of the mask was originally designed to make it easily printable on any 3D printer. It also gives our mask the unique capability of being removed and replaced with a flat piece of transparent material, such as PET or polycarbonate, acrylic, plexiglass or even a transparencies or page protector meant for binders."
It must be noted that while "A Mask For All' is not meant to replace N95 respirators or surgical masks, it is scalable to fit different face sizes and it is 100% free to download at AMaskForAll.com.