Face masks are encouraged in the current climate to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. For the most part, a lot of these masks are one-time use masks which are typically thrown away after you’re done with them. This does create quite a bit of a waste, which is why engineers at MIT and Bingham and Women’s Hospital have created a reusable N95 mask.
For those who are unfamiliar, N95 masks are the “best” masks to be worn to protect yourself and those around you. However, these masks are short in supply and are usually reserved for frontliners like doctors, nurses, and hospital staff. However, by creating a reusable mask, it means that less needs to be produced on a daily basis and frontliners won’t have to worry as much about finding them.
These masks are made from silicone and feature replaceable filters. The mask has also been created to withstand the rigors of being sterilized several times before they stop being as effective, so frontliners can get more use out of them. Speaking of sterilizing masks, we’ve actually come across some advice from health officials that have shown that you can actually sterilize masks designed for one-time use in the event that you’re running low and need to use them a few times.
The engineers are currently working on a second version of the mask designed to be even more durable and comfortable, and will also be seeking manufacturing partners and also approval from the FDA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health so that these masks can be mass produced and made available to the public.