YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — America Makes has narrowed the field of participants in the Fit to Face Mask Design Challenge.
The Fit to Face challenge is a collaboration between America Makes and the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide a rapid response to address the ongoing shortage of safe and effective personal protective equipment to frontline workers combating COVID-19, the disease spread by the coronavirus.
“Through our ongoing collaborations with VA, FDA and NIH, America Makes has facilitated entry paths for the AM community to engage and address PPE supply chain gaps during this crisis,” America Makes Executive Director John Wilczynski said in a release. “With the Fit to Face Challenge, participants leveraged leading Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) principles under a compressed timeframe to advance designs that demonstrated considerable improvement of mask fit characteristics. It truly showed the remarkable innovative nature of the additive community.”
Participants’ mask designs must provide continuous fit-to-face contact for a wide range of face types. Five digital headform datasets were shared by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to assist participants in crafting submissions, according to a release.
Other challenge criteria included instructions for use, manufacturability, assembly and manufacturing instructions. Top design submissions were also fast-tracked through the VA, FDA and NIH testing and evaluation process.
“Judging the Fit to Face Challenge designs was difficult as the submissions were all very good,” said America Makes’ technology director, Brandon Ribic. “It was clear that designers spent significant time developing these masks to meet each of the challenge criteria. We thank all the participants and congratulate the top design teams for their efforts. We also want to encourage them to further refine their designs to address the testing evaluation findings regarding some secondary criteria.”