After a phone call and briefing with an Australian Government representative in March this year, Outerspace Design launched into the design of a new protective P2 face mask for mass production.
Our design and engineering team embraced the mask development challenge, rolled up their sleeves and got to work. The fast-tracked and intense design and development activity involved long hours over two weeks and lots of rapid idea generation.
The challenge was to design a high-performance single use mask to protect Australian healthcare workers and the general population from exposure to the Covid19 virus.
A patented textile for the mask developed by scientists at CSIRO in Melbourne was used. The smart textile features Australian wool combined with other materials.
Outerspace designers and engineers worked from home in Covid19 isolation and in the Outerspace studio and workshops in Abbotsford, Melbourne. It was an intense and united team effort, everyone embraced the importance of the project and the positive impact the design would have. A strategic design approach was quickly applied to create the new mask design.
Hours were spent brainstorming, sketching and detailing multiple ideas and designs. The ergonomics and fit of the mask to the complex curves of the human face were analysed and informed the matching curves of the mask design pattern.
Senior designers, Christian Tucker, Harry Holden and Mike Denham spent hours creating detailed designs and making prototypes. The cutting table, sewing machine, workshop, measuring and testing equipment got a huge workout.
The design of the nose support for the mask creates a seal on a wide range of facial geometries to prevent exposure to Covid19. The nose support design involved detailed material investigations into plastics and metal, to find just the right feel and efficacy.
Anthropometric facial data was used to design the nose support and masks to fit any face (and nose). Scans of facial structures and contours of the nose and face also guided the important metrics. Three mask sizes were developed (small, medium and large) to make sure there was a mask to fit every facial shape, and to create the desired seal on the face.
The final mask design is constructed from a single die cut piece of the smart textile, reducing waste and complexity for manufacturing. Stitching is used to reinforce the structure of the mask and makes sure the mask holds it shape. Only one elastic strap is required, reducing materials required and accelerating construction time. The strap is stitched to the mask and cut to a length to suit each mask size.
Over two busy weeks of solid product development effort and testing – the new mask was created. The Outerspace mask is designed to be comfortable, effective and easily manufactured and machined. The team’s medical and scientific product design experience informed the approach and result.
Outerspace Design is proud to contribute their engineering and design expertise to Australia’s fight against Covid19 and to contribute to the effort in keeping Australians safe and healthy during and after the pandemic.