It’s hard to imagine writing an article like this just six months ago, but since the outbreak of COVID-19, face masks have rapidly become a new normal. Between state requirements, business policies and societal pressure, more than half of Americans now wear a face covering when in public.
As is typical, the world of crowdfunding is often the first to offer solutions to new problems. Masks and protective gear are no different, with dozens of projects cropping up in recent months. We’ve picked the some of the most innovative and shared them below.
LMP Reusable Silicone Mask
With a look some are comparing to Bane or Darth Vader, the LMP mask has had quite an impact on Kickstarter. Made from medical grade silicone, the mask is soft and flexible on your face and super easy to clean. Just throw it in the dishwasher or a pot of boiling water and it’s ready to reuse. The replaceable filters are made from three layers – cotton for comfort next to the skin, an N99 filter and an activated carbon layer.
Stringless Adhesive Mask
By using adhesive gel strips instead of ear loops or bands, the “No strings attached” mask accomplishes just that. A skin-friendly, water based formula adheres the mask over the mouth and nose. The campaign promises no gaps or slippage when your mouth moves beneath the fabric. The masks will be sold in rolls just like plastic bags in the produce department. Rip a mask off and you’re ready for salons, optometrists or other places where strings might get in the way.
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Nuo 3D Tailored Mask
If you’re like me, you understand the frustration that comes with trying to wear a face mask with glasses. They fog up CONSTANTLY. The Nuo uses 3D printing and AI to create custom fit masks that are more comfortable and have less air leakage. The campaign states the process works by users uploading the unique dimensions of their face. Those measurements are then used by the manufacturer to 3D print a mask tailor-made just for them.
Leaf Transparent Mask
If you’ve gone into a Costco or Whole Foods lately, you’ll know the slightly eerie feeling of not being able to read anyone’s expression. The added barrier to communication is a problem that the Leaf mask aims to solve. The transparent cover doesn’t hide the face, while still offering N99+ HEPA-carbon filtration. The clear material also means it can be sterilized with UV-C light.
AusAir Botanically Filtered Mask
The AusAir combines the protection of a mask with a range of soothing Australian scents. The washable outer shell houses a botanical filter capable of removing 97% of small airborne pollution (PM2.5). The replaceable filters come in a variety of subtle scents known to have a positive influence on the body. Relaxing Tasmanian lavender or coastal tea-tree are just a couple of options.
BioVYZR Personal Shield
If the other entries on this list aren’t up to your safety standards, the BioVYZR could be for you. The spacesuit-esque design covers your entire head with a shielded outer layer. The capsule uses an onboard battery to power a fan on the back that pushes air through an N95 filter. This provides wearers with their own bubble of filtered air without the limitations of a mask. The material of the BioVYZR is water and windproof and weighs less than 3lbs total.
Hexa Fan-Powered Mask
The Hexa has some similarity to the BioVYZR in that it also uses powered fans to filter the air. Built-in twin turbo fans supply up to 150 liters of clean air per minute. Incoming air is moved through a proprietary three-layer filter that removes 97% of airborne particulates. An attached control module acts as an air quality sensor and fan control. A 5200 mAh mobile power bank fuels the batteries for up to 8 hours of operation.
Maskase – Antimicrobial Copper Mask Organizer
While not exactly a mask, the Maskase deserves an honorable mention all the same. The credit card-sized sleeve opens like a wallet to safely store surgical masks when they’re not in use. The inside is lined with naturally antimicrobial copper foil and is held closed using the ear loops. This makes it a cinch to throw a mask in a pocket or bag without worrying about cross-contamination.