Erika Hansen, an Industrial design student from New Zealand, researched the use of respirators for cycling and running. Throughout her research Erika concluded the key challenge of respiratory protection design is to create a mask that people want to wear. She also listed a few additional challenges:
We invited Erika to take a look of our SuperCool and see how far it match her ideal design of a respirator mask.
After trying the SuperCool mask, following is what she has to say.
“I have to say, the SuperCool looks neat! It’s petite, slim and foldable for easy transportation. The transparency has a friendly feel but its only once you put it on that you realise how unobtrusive the SuperCool really is, to look at and wear.
Being a petite woman, the Supercool was a little long for me, which put pressure under the nose and excess material under the chin however it can be simply trimmed down with scissors. The instruction booklet enclosed with the mask could be improved if it clarified this attribute with a series of diagrams. The embossed website address confuses which way up the mask should be worn. My interpretation was that you would wear the mask with the text upright so it was readable, positioned under the chin. However the form of the mask suggests that it is designed to be worn up the other way, with the text under the nose. A clear visual in the instruction booklet could demonstrate this and save users from trimming the ends only to find that it’s upside down. However the ability for the user to create a custom fit, simply with a pair of scissors is great.
At first the SuperCool can take a bit of effort to put on but, unlike other masks I’ve experienced, you can whip it off with ease, without feeling like your being strangled by the tangled mess of straps.
On testing the super cool I have to say I was rather impressed! With personal design experience in the area of respiratory masks I can appreciate how challenging it is to design a mask that users not only feel comfortable enough to be seen wearing but actually enjoy wearing! The SuperCool will definitely benefit users who feel at all claustrophobic in half face masks that cover the nose.
I do have questions about the performance of the mask when it doesn’t cover the nose. For exercising it could be a good solution as most people tend to breathe through the mouth however this wouldn’t necessarily be the case for other users such as allergy sufferers. There is potentially a compromise in the performance of the Supercool as there is no seal around the filters however users can easily remove the covers and replace the filters themselves when required.
The SuperCool is surprisingly comfortable. I could happily wear it for a few hours at a time and occasionally become unaware of it. After half an hour of use I was left with light indents on the face but I view this as assurance of a tight seal rather than a down side.
It’s great to see that the SuperCool is latex free, a huge plus for latex allergy sufferers! The SuperCool appears to be a great mask for those wanting personal protection from particles and due to the size it would make a great travel companion should unexpected situations arise where you would benefit from low level respiratory protection against particles.”
Thanks to Erika’s feedback, we’ve improved the instruction of the SuperCool mask and made the possibility to trim the mask more clear.
Regarding the orientation of the mask, some users achieved a better face-seal while wearing the mask in the upright orientation. Others find the upside down orientation is better. This has also been expained in the instruction sheet.
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