The requirement around the globe to wear masks following the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created a communication obstacle for people with hearing disabilities who read lips to communicate with others.
Seeking a solution, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev School of Public Health doctoral student Carolina Tannenbaum-Baruchi joined forces with Maayan Levin, mentor of the high school robotics team “Roboactive #2096” from Dimona, to solve the problem. Their work resulted in the “Read My Lips” facemask which is transparent and does not fog up.
Both Tannenbaum-Baruchi’s parents are deaf and she has devoted her research to improving the lives of the deaf and hard of hearing community in Israel.
The “Roboactive #2096” robotics team from Zinman Darca High School in Dimona developed the mask according to Tannenbaum-Baruchi’s research insights using their 3-D printers.
“Over the last three weeks, we have planned, developed and created the mask from home, with the assistance of 3-D printers. The result – the first mask of its kind,” explained Maayan Levin,
“It is reusable, washable and sterilizable, and is easy to breathe in. It is transparent in front to enable lip reading and is designed not to fog up from people’s breath. What’s more, it is comfortable and affordable,” she added.
“Hours of conversations, messages, video clips and attempts have resulted in this transparent mask,” Tannenbaum-Baruchi concluded.
They are now looking for production and funding partners to mass-produce the mask while continuing to refine the design.
The study was conducted under the auspices of the BGU Coronavirus Task Force, which was initiated by BGU President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz to harness the ingenuity of the faculty and the resources of the University to tackle the myriad challenges the pandemic poses.