Researchers from the EPFL’s EssentialTech Center and the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology have developed a better alternative to the standard surgical face mask – an almost completely transparent, breathable, protective, biodegradable and recyclable face mask. They’re appropriately called HelloMasks as facial expressions will finally be seen and they are made from organic biomass-based materials.
HelloMasks are produced using “a manufacturing process called electrospinning where an electrical charge is used to create ultra-thin threads. The new polymer the researchers developed features fibers spaced just 100 nanometers apart which is the same as conventional disposable masks that allow air particles to pass through but block bacteria and viruses.”
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HelloMasks have been in the works for the past two years and for decades, surgical face masks have essentially stayed the same – they don’t show facial expressions or empathy, they muffle conversation, they’re difficult for the hearing-impaired who read lips and they can be hot and uncomfortable.