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 a CDC-approved Workplace Performance Plus mask.
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.
As of Feb. 13, 2021, the CDC recommends the use of a mask brace or fitter to improve the fit of common disposable masks.
In August of 2021, Fix The Mask (paired with an Armbrust American surgical mask) became the second ever CDC registered Workplace Performance Plus mask. This means Fix The Mask (with a high-grade surgical mask) has CDC-approved data on filtration, breathability and fit meeting the new Workplace Performance Plus standard.
The Fix The Mask team did quantitative fit tests of the FTM brace versus a common KN95 and KF94 mask and found the FTM brace gave a consistently high (~99% filtration) result versus the lower performing KN95 / KF94 (note that it was FTM team members doing the tests). In a similar test, Aaron Collins (an individual with a background in aerosol science) performed a DIY home quantitative aerosol test of the Fix The Mask brace with a high-grade surgical mask and found a filtration efficiency of ~97% with his test setup.
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.
Media & external links
- Fix The Mask website
- CDC data for Fix The Mask's Workplace Performance Plus registration.
- 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
- List of respirators on Encycla