Doing What’s Most Important and Doing It Now

May 01, 2020

We’ve all heard how medical masks are in short supply as health care workers address the COVID-19 pandemic; a motivated group at The University of Texas at Austin is doing something about it…in 3D.

It is (tentatively) called the Contour3D®, Custom-fit Reusable Medical Mask, and it is being developed in Austin by a team of engineers, medical professionals, software and other information technology specialists, 3D printing experts and more, who all came together to address a single problem: making sure that frontline health care workers have the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to do their jobs.

Versions of surgical masks are being sewn by concerned volunteers in their homes and many local organizations are making face shields of various kinds. But other equipment, like the carefully sealed N-95 face mask, which utilizes a polypropylene fabric that filters 95% of particles from the air a person breathes, is more difficult to replicate. The Contour3D is targeting this level of protection and will soon be manufactured on 3D printers across the country for purchase by local medical providers.

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