PolyU design students showcase creative facemasks for Asian population

The School of Design (SD) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) launches the “Masters of Mask” Exhibition today (23 June) on campus to showcase a collection of innovative facemasks designed by its students on a master programme.

A group of 15 international SD students from the Masters of Design in Design Practices programme participated in a six-week intensive workshop organized by SD earlier this year. Aiming at creating innovative solutions for a new generation of “Asian Fit” protective facemasks, the students paired up and designed creative facemasks to specifically fit the Asian population both in terms of size and purposes. The designs tackle not only the issue of Asian size and fit, but also the needs of material technology, branding strategy and public health policy.

The “Masters of Mask” project has brought together expertise from the SizeChina Research Lab (SD), PolyU’s School of Nursing at and Princess Margaret Hospital, Hong Kong. With new and unique design concepts, each design of the facemasks takes into consideration the specific purpose of individual user group such as bus drivers, medical personnel and firemen.

Mr Roger Ball, Associate Professor of SD and the Director of the SizeChina Research Lab, stated, “It has long been the objective of the SizeChina Research Lab to help designers produce products like protective facemasks that best fit the Asian population by using the ergonomic data collected from the Chinese population. These newly designed masks can well protect the Chinese from pollution and virus like H1N1 in an innovative and fashionable way.”

Mr Ball also expressed his appreciation to the collaborators including Prof. Joanne Chung of PolyU’s School of Nursing, Dr T Y Tsang and Dr Danny Tong of Princess Margaret Hospital, and Mr Arvin Chan and Miss Janis Tsui from the SizeChina Ergonomic Lab at PolyU.

The “Masters of Mask” Exhibition is open to the public at SD Gallery, School of Design, Room AG101, Core A at PolyU from 23-30 June 2009. Admission is free of charge.

More information on the Exhibition can be found at SizeChina Research Lab: www.sizechina.com and School of Design: www.sd.polyu.edu.hk

Press Contact
Roger Ball
Associate Professor, School of Design
Director, the SizeChina Research Lab
Tel       2766 5444
E-mail  sdroger@polyu.edu.hk


Brief description of facemasks

Flu mask for the public
Designed by: Patricia Rawecka & Chris Hardy

The Atmos mask is specifically designed for users who suffer from a contagious illness such as the flu. The mask also allows fresh air to enter through a valve located in the centre, drastically reducing the inside temperature. The user has the option of closing the valve, forcing all air inhaled to flow through a filter. This level of interaction gives the user a sense of control during a time when they might otherwise feel vulnerable due to their illness.


Surgical mask for bus drivers
Designed by: Amy Zhao & Ken Wong

This mask is made especially for public transportation drivers. Working in the highly infected places every day, public transportation drivers are one of the highest groups to be infected. Compared with passengers, they are more likely to get sick. When they are sick, they can spread the virus to passengers easily.

During our research, most of the drivers said they felt uncomfortable in the ear area as they have to wear both sunglasses and hand-free devices. Our mask solves this problem.

For our new mask, the frame can be folded and used for four to six months. The cloth filter is washable and replaceable. It is advised to change the filter every two weeks.


Oxygen mask with filtering properties
Designed by: Tan Sixiu & Royce Yu

An innovative oxygen mask with filtering properties effectively protects the medical team from contracting the disease while ensuring a fresh supply of oxygen to the patient.

To better protect the medical workers and stop the spread of the virus, the product should be used as early as possible once a suspected case is identified. This temporary isolation unit would be worn by the patient throughout the process of transportation to the hospital.


Mask for common cold patients
Designed by: Jewel Keung & Jeremy Yuen

Carefort is a new type of surgical mask for the Asian market.

Specially designed to improve ventilation, its new framework creates a space between the mask and the skin that effectively reduces the heat buildup problem and prevents the mask from getting damp. A combination of a metal nose clip with the fabric nose wing was developed for a perfect fit. For better air flow performance, Carefort uses less layers in strategic parts and its Velcro fastener enables users to fold the mask for a clean and safe disposal.


Taiwanese motorcycle mask
Designed by: Angus Wan & Henry Yu

Taiwan is a motorcycle country where over half of its population rides motorcycles. What they are using to protect from air pollution on the road, just a common cotton cloth mask, can’t help them much to protect their health.

Professional face mask for biker is not common in Taiwan, and most professional masks are designed for western males. There are few choices for Taiwanese female motorcyclist.

We hope this solution can provide a good choice for female motorcyclist, in order to encourage them to wear a professional mask during their ride, to protect their health and maintain their beauty.


Fire mask
Designed by: Becky Song & Kevin Ho

In recent years, the Chinese mainland has experienced earthquakes, SARS epidemic, fire: all of these catastrophic events are a wakeup call to make people think about a crisis before it happens. The main goal of this project is to design an emergency mask for a fire situation.

We acquired important ergonomics data from SizeChina lab, which gives us indispensable support for our project. The user experience test and scenario base study were also used to develop our solution.

The process, package, material, business model were focuses of investigation. After the user test came the issue of consultation with the general public. From the beginning of the development process, three ideas and prototypes came to light. During the process a balance between ease of use and level of technology was developed. Finally we arrived at a completed prototype with package and installable packet.


Fashion accessory and UV protection
Designed by: Mickey Zhang & Ling Yan

Based on Size China, Masilk is a collection of masks with a special emphasis on fashion.

It can prevent female from dust, air pollution and UV damage and bring you a healthy, clean and beautiful life.

Each spring and autumn, sand storm is serious in China. Due to the industrial development and the increase of transportation, the air pollution in China is also out of control. Masilk which is made of 100% double layers natural silk and recycled charcoal fiber can prevent 95% of UV damage, 80% of dust and most part of SO2 and CO2 in the air.


Face mask for medical professionals
Designed by: Andreas Erlandsen

Providing the ultimate in protection and comfort, the mask is designed from the belief that medical personnel should have access to the same kind of high quality protective equipment that athletes have for a long time. This is the first mask of its kind designed and developed in China for the Chinese medical professionals, which guarantees an optimal fit.

The mask can be worn comfortably with glasses or similar equipment due to its under-the-ear design, while the lightweight and breathable materials allow users to wear it for long periods of time without discomfort. When not in use, the mask can comfortably sit around the user’s neck.