MTU researchers design new mask for faculty

With the fall semester coming up, new masks have been designed to keep faculty and students safe.
Published: Jul. 24, 2020 at 8:58 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2020 at 5:13 PM EDT
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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - A group of Michigan Tech researchers have created improved masks to help professors stay safe during in-person classes.

David Holden and John Schneiderhan have been working in the library’s upper floors to manufacture the plastic masks. Originally designed for medical personnel, the masks have been modified based on advice and suggestions from college faculty.

“So, the front is flatter, to try and reduce glare,” explained Holden, pointing out the parts on his own mask. “It’s flared at the sides to permit the introduction of a microphone. It wraps around the chin and further around the head to help prevent the projection of respiratory droplets. And it has a flap on the top here to help prevent the forward flow of exhalation.”

The masks are made by a combination of 3D printers, which make the head piece, and electronic cutters, which shape the shield. The duo has created fifty masks over the last two days after getting approval for the design. While it is theoretically possible to make these masks at home, it would be an expensive process.

“If you were to buy the material, the face-shield material, it’s quite expensive in bulk,” explained Schneiderhan. “And trying to find a smaller source for just a one-off may be difficult.

Whether these masks will be distributed to students is still an open question, as the main priority has been getting them to faculty.

The duo plans on starting distribution by the end of the week.

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