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HelloMask

A new type of transparent medical mask for patients and healthcare workers

HelloMask intends to improve the quality of life of vulnerable patients.

Context

The use of medical masks is an essential part of infection control in hospitals. However, by partially hiding the caregivers’ faces, medical masks prevent non-verbal communication and empathic expression. This occulting aspect contributes considerably to the discomfort and stress of patients, especially the most vulnerable among them such as children.

The HelloMask project

The HelloMask project is a collaboration between the EPFL’s EssentialTech programme and Empa St. Gallen (Swiss Institute of Materials). The aim of this project is to develop a new type of material with both transparency and filtration properties. Once validated, this material will be converted into a surgical mask and certified according to the Medical Devices Directive.

The development of a mask of the “personal protective equipment” type is also being considered. This category of mask provides much greater filter protection and is used in particularly dangerous outbreaks. The direct experience of caregivers during the recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa has taught us that the masking aspect of caregivers’ personal protective equipment has a traumatic effect that increases patient distress.

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