Are face masks a field where there is still room for improvement or is it mostly a mature technology

With the viral pandemic going around, and all the info about the effectiveness of various kinds of face masks going around, combined with how hard they can be to manufacture or how they supposedly aren’t reusable (some studies came out showing how to sterilize them recently though) is this a field where there is a lot of room for improvement or is the technology mostly mature?

Its my understanding you have to wear the right kind of mask, and wear it on your face in the right kind of way, and they are made of materials that aren’t easy to manufacture and they’re designed to be disposed of rather than sterilized and reused. Plus the masks can be uncomfortable since they just use rubber bands to hold it onto your face. Plus some of the N95 masks have a vent for exhalation, which partly defeats the purpose since part of the purpose of masks is for infected people to avoid infecting other people around them.

Are there any designs for next generation masks for the general public to use in case of another airborne pandemic outbreak?

There is a South Korean movie called ‘the flu’ where the characters use this mask. What kind of filter mask is this?

That mask appears to have a replaceable filter and exhale vents.
I would like such a mask to be widely available, but without the exhale vents. It protects the user but not those around the user. The user can exhale virus unfiltered.

I have two all filter N95 masks leftover from reno work. The type you usually see. I did not use them because they did not work well. I got a heavy duty rubber mask with dual replaceable filters. It sealed better. And filters replaced easy. But it is too much for everyday use out in public or at work. It also has exhale valves.
I wear the regular type when I go out shopping. A clear one with replaceable filter would be nice. A minimal filter element, so as not to waste too much material when tossing it out.

It isn’t a ‘filter mask’. It’s an off the shelf oxygen mask re-purposed into a, purely, movie prop.

CMC fnord!

I’ll toss out my filter idea here. Freely to the world, no copyright or patent required. As if my goofy ideas rate that.

The main unit is on your belt. A small battery to power the UV LEDs. Two metallic filter elements of copper and zinc wool, reusable. A paper/cloth filter, disposable. Smallest diameter clear tubing required for filtered air volume, to a clear mask. Exhale valves. ( everyone else can get there own damn cool UV, metallic filter mask ) :stuck_out_tongue:

That is an air-entrainment mask (sometimes called a “Venturi mask” even though it does not actually use the Venturi effect). It is designed to be hooked up to a oxygen regulator and/or nebulizer to provide a consistent dose of oxygen/pharmaceutical to the respiratory system.

The tube on the bottom of the mask in that picture is just a movie prop; an air-entrainment mask is designed to be hooked up to some supply of regulated air. The problem with not having vents that permit the mask to freely exhaust exhaled breath is that carbon dioxide will build up and be reinhaled. Even if this does not get up to levels that compromise oxygen perfusion it will create a sensation of suffocation (which comes from having excess carbon dioxide rather than a lack of oxygen). The N95-type mask deals with this by having a very large filter surface that is actually quite porous to exhaled air but uses electrostatic properties attract small particles and droplets to the meltblown polypropylene material. If you only have one small filtered port then there is no way for carbon dioxide-ladden exhale to fully clear the mask before inhaling.

The reason that N95 masks are designed to be disposed of is because like all non-metallic or hard plastic medical equipment it is essentially impossible to fully sterilize and their filtration effectiveness degrades with exposure to moisture, heat, sunlight, et cetera. The use of disposable protective equipment and textiles has had measurable reductions on nosocomial (health care acquired) infection rates, and so has become standard practice in the developed world. You could make a mask frame with a disposable filter element but that would require the frame to be sterilized after use, and when people aren’t engaging in epidemic price-gouging the typical bulk purchase costs for N95 masks are a fraction of a US dollar per unit, so there is little incentive to make one part of the mask reusable.

As for the question of the o.p., I’m sure people are looking at new materials for masks including materials with more selective filtering capabilities, but meltblown polypropylene is actually well suited for this use, and pretty much anything that will filter more or finer particles will require some kind of powered air-purifying respirator system like you see people wearing in Biosafety Level 3 facilities. Properly fitted N95 masks are a good compromise between safety and still being able to function while wearing equipment for hours on end.


I described the mask as it is supposed to be represented as. I did read and comprehend that it was in a movie and likely a prop. Duh.

There are types of silicone that can be sterilized. It can handle very high temperatures. A lot of medical equipment contains it. Temperature and time has to be observed. Units have those settings. Silicone forms a good seal. With an internal wire it can be formed and retain the form. But it is a problem to be able to easily swap filter material. The ideal is to waste as little material as possible. However cheap it may be. While not transferring bad stuff when swapping filters.

Knowing big business, I’m sure they’re trying to figure out how to make you download an app in order to unlock the mask’s upgrades.

It’ll be “freemium” (otherwise known as bait and switch)… free to use after you buy it, and FilterMax is free (once you download the app). But everyone knows if you want the cool stuff, like FilterMaxPlus++ you have to buy MaskMoola in order to play the Kovid Kraze! game on the app, then get to the 30th level which by the time you’re good enough for that you’ve spent at least 300,000 MaskMoolaMarks ($237).

Donnie shouldn’t have went to Jared.