Since it seems that the virus that causes COVID-19 is going to be with us for a while, face masks will be around as well. As everyone who hasn’t worked in the OR before just noticed, not seeing the entirety of people’s faces influences how we interact with each other. Smiling, for example, completely loses the effect that it is meant to produce in others. And while this is a nuisance and discomfort for most people, those that are deaf or hard of hearing can’t see lip movement and therefore lose important information they use to communicate with others.
We’ve seen clear face masks created earlier in the pandemic, but these were crudely modified surgical masks. A better, albeit a more expensive, solution called CIVILITY has come from a team of French designers.
The CIVILITY mask keeps the important lower face features, including the nose and mouth, visible to others. The filtration components stay to the sides of the mouth, not hiding the face as is common with most masks.
This “smile-through” design, as the developers call it, allows people to communicate more normally. The strap design lets a wide swath of people fit the mask to their faces and maintain a tight fit that doesn’t let unfiltered air through.
Filters within the mask are FFP2 certified in the European Union (minimum 94% filtration of passing particles and maximum of 8% air leakage) and they can be removed and replaced with fresh ones. Each set of filters is designed to last about twelve hours, after which they should be replaced. The rest of the mask is reusable and can be cleaned safely using 70% alcohol solutions.
CIVILITY masks are now in pre-order for 35 euros (~$40) and they’ll come with 30 filters, enough to last for a month of regular usage, and a dustbag.
Here’s a short promo video presenting the CIVILITY mask:
Indiegogo campaign: CIVILITY – Next Gen Transparent Mask