The economy in Germany is slowly starting to recover. The Federal Labour Ministry published the labour protection standard on 16th April. According to the standard, all company employees must wear a mouth-nose mask if the distance between them is less than 1.5 meters. Although there is already a wide range of different masks, e.g. community masks, surgical masks and FFP2 and FFP3 masks, these masks are rather annoying in the business world, as the facial expressions are not visible due to the material used, especially cotton, they cover half of the face and are annoying for the wearer after a short time due to the heat and moisture generated under the mask, i.e. they do not offer any pleasant wearing comfort. In addition, some of the masks only have a short shelf life and have to be disposed of afterwards, thus polluting the environment. For this reason, we would like to develop an innovative mouth-nose protection product, which is made of a transparent material, is minimally tailored to the nose and mouth, is equipped with exchangeable naturally degradable filter materials and protects the wearer just as effectively against infections as with the new Sars-Cov2 virus and bacteria as outside third parties. We firmly believe that such an innovative design will have a wider acceptance for use in the business world, as communication between business people can continue to take place naturally and will not be disturbed by unnecessary masking of the face.
What it does
SmileMask protects the wearer just as effectively against infection with viruses and bacteria as outside third parties with whom the wearer comes into contact. Likewise, SmileMask will promote natural communication due to its transparent and minimalist design, and will sustainably protect the environment due to its replaceable filter made of naturally degradable materials. With its futuristic design, the wearer will perceive the SmileMask as a pleasant fashion accessory and enjoy wearing it.
How I built it
SmileMask consists of a nose clip to which two attachments with exchangeable filters are attached. This noseband in turn is coupled with a kind of mini-face-shield that surrounds the mouth.
Challenges I ran into
The first challenge is to find a material that is suitable for the nostril. The second challenge is to find and develop a suitable naturally degradable material that can be produced locally to avoid long and global supply chains. A third challenge is the design of this two-part product and the production of the product, for example via 3-D printing.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We have innovative solutions and ideas to develop a novel design for our SmileMask. Moreover we are establishing a cooperation with a multi-partner initiative from the health sector to build a first prototype. The faces behind SmileMask are one designer and one lawyer, both from Germany.
What I learned
The success of such an ambitious project requires the composition of a team with the necessary core competencies and good work organisation.
What's next for Rethinking Face Mask Design
We are looking for product and fashion designers, business economists, virologists and epidimologists, materials researchers, project managers, business angels, mentors and anyone else who would like to support us in this mouth-and-nose protection project