A traditional full-face gas mask usually consists of a small visor, an inner mask, an outer mask, and a complicated strap system. The team discovered that workers tend to avoid using masks, even if it means risking their health, because they are too bulky and complicated to wear. With a mask on, visibility via a small viewing panel that fogs up is also strained. As such, the ESPIRE aims to improve wearability for professionals and workers who need masks daily.
Traditionally, the filter and the outlet valve are always located at the bottom of the mask near the mouth. However, the spin-on filter of the ESPIRE is located at the top of the mask. ESPIRE is divided into a visor section and a mouth area. Airflow is guided in a linear stream from the top of the mask and filtered air enters the visor section first. The air then flows through a valve between the visor and mouth section. Lastly, the air is exhaled through the valve outlet located at the chin. This works well to ensure exhaled air does not come back into contact with the visor, thus keeping the visor fog-free. It also allows for more breathing room between the user’s face and the front panel.
Other than optimising airflow, the compact design also increases comfort and reduces the risk of the mask being accidentally lifted off the user‘s face. The fully transparent front improves capacity for non-verbal communication in noisy work environments. Existing masks usually comes with a 5-point-strapping design, while the ESPIRE uses one wide strap that keeps a tight fit and is easy to adjust. The flexibility of the EPDM (rubber) material ensures the mask is safely secured around the face. Lastly, if the filter needs to be changed, it can be easily removed with two fingers while the air intake is kept protected.