Designing a Consumer Air Mask for Pandemic Times

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In the pandemic era, confidence that the air we breathe is safe and healthy often comes at the cost of comfort and human connection. JustAir invented a way to have it all.


In 2014, the threat of Ebola prompted medical device inventor and entrepreneur Dan Burnett to conceive of a mask that actively filters air, ensuring every breath is virus-free. It was an excellent idea, and as the supply of surgical and N95 masks faltered at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, he knew such technology could help. Frontline medical professionals have been forced to go to extreme lengths, wearing filtered helmets and respirators so tight they leave their faces cut and bruised. So Burnett unpacked his 2014 patents and decided to find a better way. 

Burnett joined forces with frog, and they set out to design a comfortable HEPA-filtered mask that would be the safest in the world. But while the wearer’s safety and comfort are critical, medical workers tending to fearful patients or parents traveling with young children also need to communicate and connect with the people around them—a need not addressed by existing PPE. By balancing wearability and aesthetics with the functional imperatives of an air mask, they aimed to create PPE technology that is as inviting as it is safe.The frog team explored various concepts and configurations to determine the best size, weight distribution, and component placement for maximum wearability. Airflow simulation and analysis also helped identify the most optimal configurations.  

Ultimately, frog’s industrial designers and engineers were able to create JustAir, an adaptive air mask that is both functional and fashionable enough for daily consumer use. By shrinking the power, filter and air circulation components into a small module that sits behind the wearer’s head, JustAir is small and ergonomic enough for casual use, yet powerful enough for front line workers. 

As COVID precautions become a fixture of daily life, consumers are looking for more functional, fashionable and seamless face mask options. JustAir fills this need by combining the high-performance filtration of industrial air masks with the aesthetic sense of today’s consumer tech.
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