February 1, 2022

“Air-Shield” Improves Effectiveness of Doctors’ Protective Masks?

Professor Ezri Tarazi, chair of the Industrial Design Program and head of the Design-Tech Lab at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, together with doctors at the Clinical Research Institute at Rambam Health Care Campus, have developed a breakthrough device that dramatically improves the efficacy of protective masks worn by COVID-19 medical staff everywhere.

Medical staff worldwide report that overheating and foggy glasses make it difficult for staff to care for COVID-19 patients. Body temperature often causes condensation to build up inside protective gear, which causes masks to fog up and makes it difficult for medical staff to see properly when treating patients. Current protective masks may also not be sufficiently effective at eliminating infection by the virus aerosol droplets.

Prof. Tarazi based the idea on pumps used in the IDF protective masks against nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare, and adapted them to the needs of the medical professionals. The new invention generates air flow downwards from the forehead area and creates an “air shield” inside the protective mask that isolates the doctor from the surrounding atmosphere, which may carry COVID-19 droplets. A small pump attached to the waist blows air through a tube up to the forehead, which is expelled via small holes in a manifold attached to the mask.

The mask is the product of an outstanding collaboration between Technion and the Rambam Health Care Center. The Technion team developed the mask, while Rambam staff carried out the clinical trials in a highly accelerated time frame of collaboration.