America Makes, in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), announced the top designs of the Fit to Face—Mask Design Challenge, a rapid response challenge to support the ongoing shortage of safe and effective personal protective equipment (PPE) for COVID-19 frontline workers.
“Through our ongoing collaborations with VA, FDA, and NIH, America Makes facilitated entry paths for the AM community to engage and address PPE supply chain gaps during this crisis,” said America Makes Executive Director John Wilczynski. “With the Fit to Face Challenge, participants leveraged leading Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) principles under a compressed timeframe to advance designs that demonstrated considerable improvement of mask fit characteristics. It truly showed the remarkable innovative nature of the additive community.”
Fit to Face Challenge participants were tasked primarily with optimizing a face mask’s continuous fit-to-face contact for a range of face types. Five digital headform datasets were shared by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to assist participants in crafting submissions. Other challenge criteria included instructions for use, manufacturability, assembly, and manufacturing instructions. Top design submissions were also fast-tracked through the VA, FDA, and NIH testing and evaluation process.
“Judging the Fit to Face Challenge designs was difficult as the submissions were all very good,” added America Makes Technology Director Brandon Ribic, Ph.D. “It was clear that designers spent significant time developing these masks to meet each of the challenge criteria. We thank all the participants and congratulate the top design teams for their efforts. We also want to encourage them to further refine their designs to address the testing evaluation findings regarding some secondary criteria.”
The teams for top designs, as well as honorable mention, of the Fit to Face—Mask Design Challenge are (not listed in any particular order):
Alliance PCB Solutions, LLC: Vader Small
Carnegie Mellon University: Moldable Mask Small and Moldable Mask Large
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST): Every Mask
Re:3D Inc.: Flex Fit Small and Flex Fit Large
These designs will be showcased on both the America Makes and the NIH 3D Print Exchange websites.