The innovative half mask from BUT is more comfortable to wear, offers sizes for children and is also worn in America
A team of employees and students of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Communication, BUT significantly innovated the protective mask that can be printed even on a standard 3D printer without the use of special materials. Compared to the original BUT-H1 mask, the BUTMASK-H2 mask offers several enhancements to ensure not only greater wearing comfort, but also to offer a wider choice of sizes.
The technicians consulted the extension of sizes and the optimization of the shape with ordinary users, who commented on the original version of the mask. One of the incorporated comments from the public is that the filter is now partially protected by lamellae so that particles and droplets cannot fall directly on the filter. “We were mainly concerned with the shape of the mask, the comfort for the user and with it the reduction of looseness during its wearing. With hard plastic prints, it will never be possible to achieve the comfort and ability to adapt to the face shape, which is offered by commercial soft plastic products. That is why it is important to find the size that suits you best with our mask. In an effort to meet the needs of users, we have prepared more sizes than it is common with commercial products," one of the designers, Václav Kaczmarczyk, added. Now users can download not only adult versions of the mask in sizes S to XL but also children's sizes XS and XXS.
Another significant improvement is that the mask is more pleasant while talking. "The first version of the mask sat well on a face, but moved on the face while speaking, making it difficult to understand the speech. The new version is larger, so it is much easier to talk with it,” Kaczmarczyk added. An innovative way of attaching, indirect filtering via lamellae or an optimized space for filter placement are other innovations to promote better sealing. Nowadays, the staff and students working on the mask development are concentrating on the use of such filters so that the mask can meet the FFP2 level of protection provided the filter material is correctly chosen.
The new version of the mask, like its predecessor from the end of March, is intended mainly for non-commercial purposes, such as community 3D printing. However, there were also several commercial companies interested in producing the mask in larger quantities as an alternative to cloth masks. Despite the fact that it is not a professional respirator with the highest degree of protection, a number of medical facilities that face a lack of protective equipment have also resorted to its printing.
The All Czech Republic Prints Initiative is currently looking for a supplier of nanofilters for our mask and, in cooperation with the Chrudim hospital, solves the certification of the mask so that it can be delivered to social services, hospitals or schools. We are negotiating with the manufacturers of nanofilters and we believe that this connection will bear fruit in the form of available filters for our masks," Václav Kaczmarczyk's explains the plans.
The simplicity and easiness of the production of half masks have spread beyond the borders of the Czech Republic, and the creators are receiving references from America, for example. There, thanks to a BUT graduate working abroad, nurses at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital in California were equipped with half masks from BUT, who are struggling with a lack of protective equipment. The hospital even tested the so-called "fit test" on the masks, which confirmed the good sealing ability.
More information and all materials needed for printing are available at https://www.vutbr.cz/en/mask.