A novel re-usable mask designed for comfort and improved acoustic ability.

TEAM: Pauline Megallaa, Matthew Guest, Katherine Langan and Dr Forbes McGain (Western Health), David Collins (University of Melbourne, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology), and Jerome Wielens (University of Melbourne, Business Development).

Medical respirators are a core component of personal protective equipment. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the universal adoption of facemasks put an enormous burden on their supply and disposal. In 2020, the WHO estimated that 89 million medical masks were required each month to meet the global demand and called for 40 per cent increase in manufacturing. Current alternatives do not address the shortfalls of disposable medical respirators; PAPR and elastomeric masks have issues relating to cost, maintenance and cleaning. They can decrease speech intelligibility by 40 per cent and industrial masks cannot be easily sterilised. This product design affords many benefits including the use of a novel concept to enhance sound acoustics and improve user experience. Additionally, with improved mask fit and user comfort we aim to improve protection against respiratory viruses thereby having a social and health impact. ReResp can be upscaled for a national and global market and is marketable in other high-risk settings beyond the healthcare system.