Fix The Mask is a mask fitter designed to improve the seal of common surgical face masks. Surgical masks which are certified as ASTM Level 2 or Level 3 have a material filtration efficiency >= 98% (at 0.1 μm). This means the material in the ASTM Level 2/3 surgical mask can be compared to that of common N95 masks — what is lacking is the fit of these masks.
Fix The Mask is an effort to produce mask braces that seal surgical masks more closely to the face, increasing the efficacy of the mask in filtering potentially hazardous aerosols and droplets.
Fix The Mask sells a pre-made "Essential Mask Brace" which has nose-fitting bristles as well as two bands that attach behind the head. Fix The Mask has instructions on how to make a DIY home mask brace from a rubber sheet at home as well as a simplified version that can be made using three rubber bands.
In a study of aerosol transmission in a simulated classroom, the Fix The Mask's Essential Mask Brace was found to dramatically improve mask filtration efficiacy:
..effective filtration efficiencies approaching the mask material filtration efficiency were achievable using simple mask fitters...this enables conditional infection probabilities < 0.001 (0.1%) or even < 0.0001 (0.01%) to be reached with the use of masks and mask fitters alone.
The Fix The Mask is run by Sabrina Paseman and Katherine Paseman. Sabrina Paseman is a Mechanical Engineer and previously worked as a Product Design Engineer at Apple, and Katherine Paseman has a background in Mechanical Engineering and previously worked at 4 startups managing various aspects of their sales, customer success, and product divisions.
- Fix The Mask website
- Simplified "DIY" rubber band design - YouTube video
- DIY rubber sheet design - YouTube Video
- SF-Based ‘Fix the Mask' Not Slowing Down as COVID-19 Restrictions Ease - NBC Bay Area
- "This ex-Apple designer has a simple solution to make masks more effective" - news article in Fast Company
- A mask brace can make your regular surgical mask almost as effective as an N95, research finds - news article in Business Insider