The new half mask is made with a 3D printer and can be made to copy the shape of the wearer’s face exactly. The user breathes through a protective membrane or a non-woven fabric. These filters can be replaced after use and the mask can be used again.
“If, in the coming days, this mask proves to be effective, I would like Prague to use this Czech model rather than imported supplies which often do not meet the health and safety requirements,” Petr Hlubuček, Prague Deputy Mayor, says.
The protective mask has various advantages:
1) It fits the face very well and can be customised for anyone.
2) It is of better quality than many respirators which are less effective.
3) It is much cheaper. One disposable FFP2 respirator costs 90 – 150 CZK, and while the cost of producing the half mask is similar on a 3D printer, serial production is much cheaper and replaceable filters only cost a few crowns. According to Charles University Faculty of Medicine’s report, the mask can be sterilised and reused.
4) It supports local developers and manufacturers.
“We will give the first 200 masks to our frontline staff to be tested after Easter. If it functions properly in practice, mass production can begin within ten days. The suppliers believe that about 10 thousand half masks a week can be manufactured, and for a much lower cost than 3D printing. This would provide high-quality protection not just for frontline workers,” Petr Hlubuček adds.