News

COVID Response Case Study: Clinician engagement to produce mask adjusters
10.07.20

In the early days and weeks of the COVID crisis, there were deep concerns about PPE. Front line workers needed to adjust to the new reality rapidly, adapting to different levels of protection in different clinical situations and scenarios. There was a huge demand on masks.

The most common and most readily available type of mask is a simple paper mask that is secured by elastic loops over the ears. But these have their own problems. Wearing them for long periods of time can cause significant discomfort and chafing around the ears, or at times, the elastic can stretch and the masks became loose. A mask adjuster solves these problems.

As Prof. John M. O’Byrne, Consultant Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgeon, Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital, explains: “We realised we needed mask adjusters; a small piece of plastic that loops around the elastic loops in facemasks, are cheap to make, and could be rapidly distributed to front line workers across the country. AMBER technician, Alex Conway, improved on an initial design we provided to him and prototyped the new mask adjusters within AMBER Advanced Research Laboratory with specialist 3D printers. The adjustment Alex made allowed for more variation in the tension of the mask making it more secure, more reliable and more comfortable. We are very grateful to AMBER for their contribution”.

To ensure as many front line workers as possible were given access to the mask adjusters AMBER collaborated with a large supplier to rapidly 3D print and distribute thousands of units nationwide.