Transparent masks that cover your face but don’t hide it, by Desmania

Desmania’s face masks, produced in collaboration with IIT Delhi, combine face masks, shields and goggles to design protection for the entire face

It is becoming clear that face masks or shields will be part of our attire for at least this year. Gurugram-based Desmania has stepped into the mask design innovation field. The industrial product design agency has developed AARMR, a combination of face masks, face shields and goggles.

The transparent mask covers the entire face and has separate inlets and outlets for inhalation and exhalation. It comes in four types: for people whose work involves delivery, for those going in to work (offices and factories), for those travelling by air, and for frontline healthcare workers (doctors, nurses). We speak to Desmania CEO Anuj Prasad on how the mask works.

What was the idea behind AARMR’s design and design philosophy?

Most masks right now cover up over half of our faces. We wanted to bring in two changes: we wanted the mask to make sure that we couldn’t touch our face, but at the same time, we wanted it to show the complete face of the user. This is especially for doctors, as it makes patients feel more comfortable. And surely you know the kind of waste PPE is creating, so our idea was to have masks that are sustainable and durable.

Could you talk about the types of filters you are using?

There are three types of filters. One is a nanotech filter, which can block particle size of up to 5-10 microns with 95% efficiency. This works great for normal conditions like for walking on the road and buying groceries. The nanotech filter is washable using soap water or sanitiser, so it’s more durable.

We also have what we call a nanosurge filter, which combines a surgical filter (seen in blue, three layered disposable masks) along with nanotech. The main frame is durable, but the filters can be used for three to five days and then be replaced; we provide cartridges for them.

The third is an N95 equivalent, which we are still working on and it needs to get more certifications. Our N95 masks will require smaller cartridges, and as they don’t touch your skin much, they will cause less irritation and suffocation.

Go nano
  • Another advocate of using sustainable nano-tech filters is Nirvana Being. It claims its Airific masks have a Viral Filtration Efficiency of 99.7.
  • Founder Jai Dhar Gupta appeals to people not to use disposable material unless absolutely necessary. “All the plastic PPE will go back into our water bodies, air and soil. Please let us not use disposable material unless absolutely necessary. Doctors need to use them, yes, but it makes no sense for healthy people to do so.”
  • Having collaborated with a New Zealand company called Revolution Fibres for the nanotech filter, Airific is washable and with proper drying, will last for three months.
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Considering that some of us will be wearing spectacles inside these masks, won’t fogging up of glasses be an issue?

We actually did face that problem when we first started tinkering with the design. Our feedback from people was that there was an issue of foggy glasses. So we changed the passage of air. Instead of putting a filter on the front, we put one on the top near the forehead, so you inhale from the top and when you exhale you do through the NRV (non-return valve which allows flow in a single direction), near your nose and mouth. Along with that, we also found that coating the mask with certain formulations helps reduce fogging.

Transparent masks that cover your face but don’t hide it, by Desmania

You said that there are four types of masks. How does the design differ according to the usage?

For those delivering goods, the filter is right in front of the nose, which makes breathing easier while travelling on a two-wheeler, when there’s greater wind. It is transparent and compatible with helmets. The nanotech filter is also excellent for pollution — it takes care of particles upto 2.5 PM. The one for workspaces is light and has good visibility as it has to be worn all day, in front of laptops. The one for travel has two exhale areas, as the temperature difference while travelling through flights may cause breathing problems. For doctors, we are working on an N95 filter such that the air they breathe in and out is purified. That will take two more weeks to launch.

Transparent masks that cover your face but don’t hide it, by Desmania

You have been working in partnership with IIT-Delhi for this…

Yes, we approached IIT for the initial ideation with the design department, and used their workshop to make prototypes. We also got the masks validated through rounds of improvement according to feedback from doctors at AIIMS. We have been innovating ever since the lockdown began in March, and will still go through constant iterations in designs depending on user feedback.

Have you tested the masks in real life scenarios?

Apart from in-house testing in different environments (hot and cold), we have given the mask to almost 100 people including delivery boys, office workers, a couple of people on flights. A few doctors have also been using the masks for 10 days or so. We are 80% close to results, and have started dispatching samples. Once we posted on social media, we got enquiries from all over the world.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 1:12:52 PM |

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