Totobobo mask hits 25 countries

a teenage girl wearing Totobobo mask

a teenage girl wearing Totobobo mask

The current H1N1 flu triggered a sudden increase in sales of face masks and Totobobo, the first customizable face mask, is now hitting 25 countries across the world. This is a new milestone for the company, Dream Lab One, the producer of the Totobobo mask.

Travelers, cyclists, wood-turners and artists alike have found this reusable mask highly effective in blocking out polluted air and various irritants. Sales of this reusable mask has increased significantly and it has received rave reviews from users around the world.

“This mask may have saved my life. First, the mask is made out of a rubbery material, so it sticks naturally to your skin. After I found the perfect position on my face for my mask, I no longer have any problems with breathing…at all…period. My nose has cleared up, my eyes are no longer irritated, I don’t cough or sneeze at all anymore. It’s comfortable and it doesn’t fog my glasses! I hardly know I’m wearing it!” said Paula Ford, a satisfied Totobobo user and a pastel artist residing in Tennessee, United States.

Individuals who rely a lot on respiratory masks tend to live in environments that contain either polluted air or airborne disease pathogens. An effective mask helps to filter out polluted air and airborne virus. There are two conditions that determine whether a respiratory mask is effective. First, it needs to seal the wearer’s nose and mouth snugly. Second, the filter material must be able to filter out the smallest of particles.

“Money can buy high quality filters, but a good seal has been a hit-or-miss affair,” said Francis Chu, the designer of the revolutionary mask. His design provides a simple and intuitive solution call VSC (Visual-Seal-Check) for the user to check the face-seal.

Easy Visual-Seal-Check (VSC):
To ensure good respiratory seal, normal N95 mask users can only rely on their ability to feel the air-leak around their face. Such method is not reliable and sometimes it gives a fault sense of security. Francis believes his transparent mask allows users to check the seal intuitively and to ensure minimal seepage of polluted air.

To verify this, he sent the mask to a hospital and compared the Visual-Seal-Check (VSC) with the gold standard respirator fit-test, a high-end quantitative system called PortaCount from TSI Incorporated. The result showed strong correlation (90%) between the prediction of the Visual-Seal-Check (VSC) method and the result of the gold standard fit-test proving his intuitive method effective.

“The Visual-Seal-Check, or VSC, is much more reliable than the seal check found in other N95 masks. This study shows that face-seal can be determined simply by checking the seal through the transparent mask,” says Francis.

5 years old boy wearing Totobobo mask

5 years old boy wearing Totobobo mask

Over half of the recent orders are coming from parents traveling with children. They appreciate the possibility to customize the mask to fit their young children. With the VSC they are more reassured that their children are getting the optimal protection.

To buy Totobobo mask (International)
To buy Totobobo mask in Singapore

Recent visitors

Recent visitors

Singapore mask designed to protects children

News release
(Singapore, 4 May 2009)  As swine flu (H1N1) continues to spread, young children are at greater risk because of their lungs is still under development and there is a lack of child-friendly respiratory masks. The customisable Totobobo mask offers parents a reassuring solution and is seeing strong demand from around the world.

Totobobo mask fit children with small face size

Totobobo mask fit children of different ages

The patented Totobobo mask was created by product designer Francis Chu to meet the need for children respiratory protection. Made from “Totosoft”, a custom-blend soft plastic formulated using FDA approved sources, the mask is also equipped with two powerful electro-static filters. The mask can be trimmed to fit children as young as five-years-old. Parents can see through the transparent mask and double check if it fits their child snuggly.

For a mask to be effective, it has to fit the face snuggly, so that airborne viruses cannot seep through any gaps. Children wearing adult-sized respiratory masks, whether NIOSH-certified or not would be exposed to contaminated air due to the ill fit.

normal N95 mask does not fit children

normal N95 mask is too big for children

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the USA tests and certifies respiratory devices on the market such as the current standard N95 masks. This test is only conducted on adults. The certification determines the filtration efficiency and does not guarantee how well the masks fit. All NIOSH-certified respiratory masks, such as N95 masks, are fixed sizes and do not come in smaller sizes for children.

In 2003, when SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) first broke out, Francis Chu, a father of two, got first-hand experience of the anxiety of parents concerned about his children’s safety. His children were only six and eight-years-old. At that time and he could not find a mask that would fit their small faces.

“I felt hopeless knowing that my children were in imminent danger if they go into crowded public space like schools or playgrounds and that I could not do anything about it.”
“The sense of threat prompt me into looking for a design solution that will fit all face shapes including children.” explains Francis.

The customisable Totobobo respiratory mask that Francis eventually created, after experimenting with hundreds of prototypes, fits both adult and child. Its soft and light material (only 20grams) makes it less irritable for children who might find it uncomfortable wearing a normal mask.

“I was thinking from a parent’s perspective during the design process and that pushed me harder to make the mask as practical as possible. I am happy to know that with the child-friendly Totobobo mask, parents now have a practical choice to better assured of their children’s safety,” adds Francis.

Time for a better mask to protect children
Parent testimonial

Predictive value of the user seal check (of normal N95/N99 mask)

Document title
Predictive value of the user seal check in determining half-face respirator fit


DERRICK J. L. (1) ; CHAN Y. F. (1) ; GOMERSALL C. D. (1) ; LUI S. F. (2) ;

Author(s) Affiliation(s)
(1) Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, HONG-KONG
(2) Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, HONG-KONG
Rsum / Abstract

Guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization state that healthcare workers should wear N95 masks or higher-level protection during all contact with suspected cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome. Before use, the manufacturer recommends performing a user seal check to ensure that the mask is fitted correctly. This study aimed to test the ability of the user seal check to detect poorly fitting masks. This study is a retrospective review of a mask-fitting programme carried out in the intensive care unit of the Prince of Wales Hospital in Hong Kong. In this programme, all staff were tested with two types of N95 mask and one type of N100 mask. The results of the documented user seal check were then compared with the formal fit-test results from a PortaCount. Using a PortaCount reading of 100 as the criterion for a correctly fitted mask, the user seal check wrongly indicated that the mask fitted on 18-31% of occasions, and wrongly indicated that it did not fit on 21-40% of occasions. These data indicate that the user seal check should not be used as a surrogate fit test. Its usefulness as a pre-use test must also be questioned.

Revue / Journal Title
The Journal of hospital infection ISSN 0195-6701


Clearly a Better Way to Check for Safety

The protective function of a respirator mask is based on two functions;
(1) the filter media must let in air but stop harmful and unwanted particles from entering the breathing zone.
(2) the mask must fit the users face and form a complete seal so that no air bypasses the filter media and enters the breathing zone directly.

Filter + Face seal = good protection

principle of respiratory mask protection

Modern technology has produced highly efficient filter media that can achieve up to an incredible 99.9% filtration efficiency. Ensuring a secure mask-to-face fit, however, is not nearly as simple. Rarely do users achieve a professional-grade fit, and they are surprised when they do.

Fit-testing is a task that requires a trained professional, special equipment, knowledge and skills, and considerable time. There is QUALITATIVE fit test based on subjective senses of the user, and there is QUANTITATIVE fit test based on objective measurement which compares the particle counts inside and outside of a mask. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that such a fit-test be conducted yearly for each user so as to ensure proper usage. Fit testing can determine if a mask fits the user during the test, but can not tell for sure if the mask still fits the user days or months afterwards. These fit-testing procedures are limited to occupational users and not commonly available. The general public has neither the equipment, nor training, nor expertise, nor regular access to professionals who do in order to conduct professional-grade testing on their protective respiratory masks when they need it.

In a recent study Respiratory Donning in Post-Hurricane New Orleans (published on the US CDCwebsite in May 2007), researchers found 76% participants were not able to demonstrate proper donning, resulting in the compromising of their protection. This study group should know a thing or two about proper protective mask use considering the ordeal they went through during the post-Katrina clean-up of New Orleans. Imagine in an emergency situation, what would happen if the public needed to wear respirators to protect themselves? How many of these people will be able to fit their mask properly? Less than 24%, perhaps? CDC has been reluctant to recommend N95 masks for the public use because for 3 out of 4 people the poorly fitted respirator may provide a fault sense of security and encourage risky behavior.
The Prince of Wales Hospital of Hong Kong conducted a study where subjects who had previously passed a fit test were asked to properly don a N95 mask and then check for adequate sealing. These same subjects were then given a TOTOBOBO mask which they have not previous experience and conducted the same test. The results found that although the TOTOBOBO mask performed slightly less than the N95 mask, most test subjects did achieve the appropriate fit and pass the test. How did the non-fit tested Totobobo match the fit-tested N95 mask for this group of users?

Transparent surface indicates good face seal of Totobobo mask

Transparent surface indicates good face seal of Totobobo mask

The TOTOBOBO mask solves the uncertainty about proper fit in a simple but extremely effective way. The transparent mask makes fit checking an easy task. Check around the perimeter of the mask and you can immediately decide if the face seal is good or not. This simplicity, combined with a soft material that comfortably fits your face, makes fitting a lot more intuitive and reliable. Now you can perform a more reliable face-fit check every time before entering a contaminated area. This is certainly more reassuring than relying on once a year fit test.

ESICM Annual Congress-Totobobo-mask-1044