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Made-to-measure face masks: nurse working on prototype for healthcare staff

Universities helping to create reusable mask based on a scan of the user’s face
Valerie Bednar with (inset) a prototype of the face mask she is helping to develop

Universities helping to create reusable mask based on a scan of the users face

A nurse and her husband are helping to create an innovative, reusable face mask custom-made to fit the face of the wearer.

Intensive care nurse Valerie Bednar, who works for Swansea Bay University Health Board, had struggled to find FFP3 (filtering facepiece) masks that fit well for work.

Working with universities on a prototype mask

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, my husband and I had a conversation about what could be done about it, she said. We contacted a friend who worked in aerospace, who suggested scanning my face to make a

Universities helping to create reusable mask based on a scan of the user’s face

Valerie Bednar with (inset) a prototype of the face mask she is helping to develop
Valerie Bednar and (inset) a prototype of the face mask she is helping to develop

A nurse and her husband are helping to create an innovative, reusable face mask custom-made to fit the face of the wearer.

Intensive care nurse Valerie Bednar, who works for Swansea Bay University Health Board, had struggled to find FFP3 (filtering facepiece) masks that fit well for work.

Working with universities on a prototype mask

‘When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, my husband and I had a conversation about what could be done about it,’ she said. ‘We contacted a friend who worked in aerospace, who suggested scanning my face to make a custom-fit mask.

‘Our goal is to make a reusable product. We know that in the first wave of the pandemic staff were getting into work not knowing if the masks that were being supplied would fit.’

Ms Bednar and her husband, Gareth Smith, set up MyMaskFit and the firm has been working with UK universities to develop a prototype.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham and King's College London are helping with the design and Swansea University's college of engineering will help test and manufacture the mask.

Transparent plastic material to make communicating easier

Ms Bednar explained how the mask could help nurses practically. ‘Communication as a health professional is key. In an intensive care unit, for example, if you think about the amount of noise from monitors and pumps, you look at people’s lips a lot for communication.’

‘We are trying to design the mask with filters at the side and transparent plastic material at the front to see people’s lips move. It will also need to be anti-fogging to combat exhalation.’

An app is being developed that will enable users to scan their face and send the data for a custom-fit mask to be created for them.

A British Medical Association survey in May and June this year that obtained responses from 5,885 hospital doctors showed that 21% (1,207) had to try on one or more masks to find one that would fit.

Ms Bednar said they hope to start supplying masks to the NHS in Wales in the new year and would be willing to work with any NHS trust across the UK.


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MyMaskFit


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