SuperCool respirator review by product design student

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:

  • Drinking and communicating with the mask on.
  • A comfortable seal for a large demographic of users.
  • Does not reduce performance.
  • 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.

    Industrial design student Erika test SuperCool mask at Oriental Parade, Wellington, New Zealand on the 17th of August - Photo by Bayden Filleul

    Industrial design student Erika test SuperCool mask at Oriental Parade, Wellington, New Zealand on the 17th of August - Photo by Bayden Filleul

    “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.”

    Erika Hansen
    Industrial Design
    Massey University
    New Zealand
    Editor note:
    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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    Give cyclist a Safety Wing

    Riding in Seoul with a safety cyclist wing

    Riding in Seoul with a safety cyclist wing

    A conceptual work as mentioned by UrbanVelo.
    Cyclist safety is one of the main concern that stop potential cyclist to choose bicycle as a mode of transportation.
    Many drivers, even some cyclist, believe cyclist enjoy the road at the expenses of road tax paying car-owners.
    The “Cyclist Wing” enhance cyclist visibility and safety on the road. From the driver’s perspective, the “Wing” makes cyclist becomes 300% more visible, and therefore easier to avoid.
    “Safety by number” is an important factor supported by a huge body of research finding. More cyclist = more safety for cyclist .
    The “Wing” makes the visual population of cyclist in any city increased to 300% with the same number of cyclists. Driver need to drive more carefully due to the apparent increase number of cyclists on the road.

    With the air-cleaning function of the “Wing”, cyclists make a tangible contribution to the environment, at the same time return the right-of-way to cyclist.
    it is also a subtle reminder of the harmful pollution from cars. The “Wing” earn the right-of-way for cyclist from a social perspective.

    The “Wing” will help to tilt the favor towards cyclists and turn more potential cyclist into real cyclist.

    Do you think the air-cleaning-cyclist-wing concept can work in your city?

    Read more :
    advanced cycling mask

    How long can the filter last?

    Totobobo mask effective protection from bush-fire

    Totobobo mask effective protection from smoke particles

    This is a common question and there is no fixed answer.

    In general, the filter should be replaced more frequent if it is used for virus or during a flu pandemic.
    For anti-pollution purpose, the color of the filter give an indication of the remaining effectiveness. Therefore one can decide when to replace the filter based on the color of the filter.

    Test on used filters from users from India, Vietnam, USA and Singapore shows that it is possible to use the color of the filters to determine, apporximately, the remaining effectiveness of the filters. These used filter samples coming from different countries, and different shades of grey is observed. It also show the relative level of air pollution, for example, 7 hours of use turns the filter almost black and the remaining effectiveness left only with 50%. On the other hands, 17 hours of use in California turns the filter to the second level of grey and still have 70% of effectiveness remain.

    Totobobo filter color chart and remaining effectiveness

    Totobobo filter color chart and remaining effectiveness

    Depends on individual needs one can change the filter according to the remaining effectiveness. In any case, the filter should not be used for more than 14 days after removing the pack.

    Anyone needs Replacement strap for Totobobo mask?

    Update 2018-10-30

    For the urgent cases of earloop replacement, we have a better and easier solution now – just cut the pair of earloop from a normal surgical mask and you can replace the broken strap as shown in the following photo:

    Surgical mask earlopp replacement


    I received an urgent call yesterday. My friend Kenneth is flying off today to China for a 3 weeks mountian climbing trip. His want to bring along his Totobobo mask but the O-ring holding the versatile strap to the mask has broken. He need a replacement strap urgently.

    Broken O-ring of Totobobo strap

    Broken O-ring of Totobobo strap

    Happy Kenneth with his new replacement strap- ready to go!

    Happy Kenneth with his new replacement strap- ready to go!

    It was lucky that I do have a couple of extra straps around and Kenneth is also living in the same town. He drove over to pick up the straps to replace his broken one.

    I heard similar incidents of broken straps recently from India. Plus another new customer wanting to buy the earloop mask with additional versatile strap (in case the earloop does not work for her child).

    These few incidents are a tiny fraction of our sales, but the urgency case of Kenneth got me thinking: “wouldn’t it be a good idea to allow purchase of extra straps, so that people going for critical mission can bring along a replacement strap in case it break?”

    What do you think? is it a good idea to sell extra replacement strap on our site?