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.* …
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:
Last Updated: 2/12/2021
We’ve tested the most common masks that we could find. This is how they stack up.
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.
To answer this, let’s take a step back and understand the purpose of wearing a mask in the first place.
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.
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
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:
Latest fit and filtration data for V1.0 and V2.0. Last Updated 5/24/2020
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.
Last Edited: 10/27/2020
As you can see below, while N95s have an extra layer, filtration is not the extra layer’s main function.
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.
The latest data and information on the Essential Mask Brace and masks in general.