A certain Swiss startup with the name HMCARE, spun out of the whole Ecole Polytechnique federale de Lausanne, has been able to raise a whopping million Swiss Francs (which is equivalent to around $105 million USD) in order to forward a new product that could possibly create a whole new trend, transparent and also eco-friendly surgical masks!
While the whole world is dealing with the coronavirus, the demand for masks has surged up to the point that a lot of cities are even experiencing scarcity and some are left with ineffective face coverings. Another inconvenience that the mask brings is that it covers half of the face which makes it harder for human interaction.
Creation of the surgical face masks
The founders were actually inspired by the healthcare workers back when the 2015 Ebola outbreak previously happened and at all of the children's hospitals located around the world that was working closely with parents but was still unable to show their own faces.
According to the Swiss startup, there were technically already transparent masks available, but they were only just regular masks with a certain plastic window attached to them, this can actually fog up and is not that breathable.
The CEO of the company, Thierry Pelet, suddenly approached his own EPFL colleagues with a new prototype of the transparent mask material which met the rigorous demands of the entire medical environment. It must be able to permit air through but not allow bacteria and viruses, and so on.
The team was able to work with Swiss materials center Empa in order for them to create the brand new type of textiles. This was done using biomass-delivered transparent fibers that were placed 100 nanometers apart from each other in order to form sheets that were then triple-layered, they were also flexible, breathable, and finally, transparent. They called this mask the HelloMask.
Transparent and eco-friendly
The material can actually be made in bulk and also formed into mask shapes just lake any other normal cloth, but there is still the matter of spinning up the manufacturing in order for this to happen.
According to TechCrunch, fortunately, the world is still very much desperate for masks, and the idea of a brand new transparent one was definitely a catnip for certain investors. This is why HMCARE was able to easily raise a million francs to seed their new mask. The R&D work have been completed by using nonprofit donations as well as grants.
While the HelloMasks could possibly launch as early as the beginning of 2021, they'll finally be primarily used in the medical community, but the public availability is also something very much possible.
These masks could be very profitable especially now during the coronavirus pandemic. The new transparent masks, although meant for the medical sector, could be a huge hit when it becomes available to the public market.