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BME teaching assistant professor Devin Hubbard, who is also a lead design engineer at NC TraCS Institute, began addressing the shortage in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) soon after the first cases of coronavirus were reported in the U.S. First, Hubbard and Nicole Wiley, who is also design engineer at FastTraCS, developed a way to repurpose adult sized masks into pediatric sizes. Then, Wiley and Hubbard also began looking at how to generate an alternative to an N95 mask.

“We’re not trying to reinvent the N95 mask,” Hubbard says. “What we come up with is not meant to be a first-line replacement—but this could provide a decent backup plan if the hospital runs out of everything else.” To create the mask design, Hubbard has counted on Ethan Smith, an undergraduate BME student who is highly proficient in CAD (Computer-Aided Modeling). It takes anywhere from one to five hours to print each prototype mask, and according to Smith, the most difficult part of the process has been to generate a shape that can be properly fitted to different faces. For the filter, Smith utilized non-woven material produced by Behnam Pourdeyhimi and his team at the Nonwovens Institute at NC State University. To read the full story, visit the UNC School of Medicine website here. Thank you, Dr. Hubbard and team, for your efforts and much needed initiative during the pandemic!


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