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We started Fix the Mask for a variety of reasons, but among the biggest is the fact that our father is asthmatic and immunocompromised. A side effect of this is that he’s become increasingly interested in what gadgets and tools he can have at his disposal to manage his risk against airborne threats like COVID-19, the flu, smoke, and pollution.

We’ve taken this into consideration when shopping for him this holiday season, and thought you all might find it useful for any of the low risk-tolerance folks on your shopping list.* …


Life Happens. If you’re traveling this season for reasons beyond your control, we have some common sense ways to reduce your risk.

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To be clear, we don’t recommend you travel this holiday season, and we’re not public health experts. But sometimes life happens. A close friend of Fix the Mask is driving across the country to take care of his mom while she recovers from heart surgery, and he wanted to know what he can do to decrease his risk of contracting COVID. If you absolutely must travel, here’s what we recommend:

  1. Set boundaries with your party. the reality is everyone has different levels of comfort when it comes to COVID prevention hygiene. We recommend gathering the folks you’re traveling with and putting together a list of what you will and won’t do. Take turns adding the preventative measures that are most important to you, and have everyone sign the list once it’s written. …


Last Updated: 12/28/2020

We’ve tested the most common masks that we could find. This is how they stack up.

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Test Method

The problem with mask testing is that most testing standards have a lot of variability.

Getting in touch with the main mask testing labs during the pandemic has been a struggle. This has caused a bunch of research institutions and DIYers alike to create their own test setups. This is a problem because these different test set-ups produce results that cannot be compared side by side. A good score in a non-representative test doesn’t mean anything.

As such, Fix The Mask has chosen the most widely accepted, aggressive test method there is, the NIOSH protocol through which N95 respirators are validated. …


To answer this, let’s take a step back and understand the purpose of wearing a mask in the first place.

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A mask as a net for your face.

This net keeps bad things out, like a mosquito net. For the net to be effective, the mesh of the net needs to be small so the bad things can’t leak inside.


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We know that the Essential Mask Brace better secures any filtration material to the wearer’s face. But what materials are recommended?

We tested different cloth masks stack-ups through the NIOSH test method to truly get an ‘apples to apples’ performance comparison.

Results: cloth masks, even multi-layer ones, don’t filter well, and they are way less breathable than their melt blown fabric counterparts.

For this reason, Fix The Mask DOES NOT recommend pairing the essential mask brace with any of the cloth mask stack-ups below. Why is cloth a worse material than melt blown fabric for masks? Learn more here.


Latest fit and filtration data for the Essential Mask Brace. Last Updated 10/19/2020

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The Essential Mask Brace — now available on Kickstarter

Background

  • According to recent statistical analysis, 75% of people need to be wearing masks that are 75% effective in order to slow the pandemic.
  • SARS-CoV-2 is spread through aerosolized particles that are emitted through activities such as breathing and talking (link, link).
  • Surgical masks alone are not adequate protection from the user inhaling aerosolized particles due to the leak paths on the sides of the mask.
  • The Fix The Mask Essential Mask Brace helps block leak paths.

Fit

Development

The Essential Mask Brace was designed using the 3D printed heads from the NIOSH Anthropometric Data. There was no cyclic flow through our head forms during testing, but these different head shapes did help us solidify a design that works well on a variety of different face shapes. …


The world has a global shortage of N95 respirator. What can we do?

After diving into the problem myself, I realized that this is just a symptom of a larger problem. This problem is so much bigger than just masks. But for this blog post, we will just focus on the manufacturing and design side of the problem. I came up with the below 3 questions after going through my standard product design process:

  1. Is there a way to increase the production of melt blown fabric? If not…
  2. Is there another material that can filter well while still being breathable?


Latest fit and filtration data for V1.0 and V2.0. Last Updated 5/24/2020

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Fit Data

There are two ways to validate mask fit that are widely used in hospitals. The first if the Saccharin/Bitrex Test, which involves shoving your head in a bag while an unpleasant gas is released — if you can smell the gas, you fail. An alternative method is a quantitative metric called a Porta Count Pro. We use a Porta Count Pro to validate the fit of our designs.

The rating system goes from 0 to 200+, anything over 100 is a passing score for an N95 mask according to OSHA. “The test subject shall not be permitted to wear a half mask or quarter face piece respirator unless a minimum fit factor of 100 is obtained”…


Is it true that surgical mask material can never be as good as N95 material?

Last Edited: 10/27/2020

What’s the difference between SM and N95s?

As you can see below, while N95s have an extra layer, filtration is not the extra layer’s main function.

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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRdTsH6l6zs 10:03, https://www.nap.edu/read/11637/chapter/4#23

The melt blown fabric layer is the part that does the bulk of the filtration, as you can see from the relative scales of the spun-bond vs melt blown fabrics.

About

Fix The Mask — the technical.

The latest data and information on the Essential Mask Brace and masks in general.

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