Wearing a mask has become a daily norm of behavior around the world with the sudden outbreak of the new coronavirus, but it also makes it increasingly difficult for us to listen to other people’s voices and understand their faces. Is the man wearing a mask smiling at me or making a face? These are hard to judge. Now researchers from the Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland , and the Swiss Federal Laboratory for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) have come up with a solution to these problems, namely, the study of breathable and transparent masks.
Soon, you’ll be able to see someone else’s whole face through the mask!
Pictured: Transparent breathable mask situated by Swiss researchers
From the shortage of masks caused by the outbreak of the new crown at the beginning of the year, and the frustration over the inability to fully express your emotions while wearing them, the search for the perfect mask continues.
Even thin masks may not be comfortable to wear, especially after a few hours of wear, but the biggest challenge of late is finding ways to make them look less rigid and less human. Over the past few months, medical staff have been trying to comfort patients or show concern while wearing masks, but with little effect.
Pictured: A clear mask with a clear view of facial expressions
In addition, masks limit communication between people using complete facial expressions and clear language, which can be tricky when communicating with people with hearing impairments.
For the past two years, researchers at the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and the Swiss Federal Laboratory for Materials Science and Technology have been working to develop masks that are transparent and breathable while ensuring safety.
Pictured: Ultra-thin materials for transparent masks
The researchers named their invention HelloMasks, a mask made from materials based on organic biomass. They are not only breathable, but also recyclable and biodegradable. The team also used a process called electrostatic spinning, which uses charges to make ultra-thin wire. This wire allows particles to pass through, but still manages to block virus and bacterial invasion.
The research team is currently working on a suitable manufacturing process to mass produce new masks and is optimistic that they will be available in early 2021. The first people to use the mask will be medical personnel and health care workers.