Several medical studies highlight the critical importance of nonverbal communication for the therapeutic relationship. Emotions and related phenomena (desires, moods, and feelings) can be revealed through nonverbal behavior, and have been suggested to influence important healthcare aspects including satisfaction, adherence, and even clinical outcomes.
Wearing masks is a common infection control practice in hospitals. Yet, by partially hiding the facial expression, facemasks greatly impair the nonverbal communication between the patient and the caregiver. This has a significant negative impact on the patient's perceived empathy and diminishes the positive effects of relational continuity. Moreover, facemasks may also be experienced as threatening, especially by vulnerable patients and children.
The objective of the HelloMask project is to develop a new type of transparent medical mask with the appropriate filtration and breathability properties. To achieve this ambitious goal, our innovative approach relies on the development of a completely new and unique type of composite membrane that will have both a very low opacity and a good protective filtration level. The HelloMask, which must comply with all medical regulations, could one day replace regular hospital masks. The underlying concept of the project is to re-humanize the healthcare by making the face of the mask wearer visible.
Was ist das Besondere an diesem Projekt?
No transparent facemask currently exists on the market. The HelloMask project, which relies on the development of a new kind of composite material that would merge filtration properties and transparency, necessitates the combination of multiple skills and competencies. Two major Swiss scientific institutions, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in Lausanne) and Empa (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology in St-Gallen), will therefore collaborate to successfully develop this innovative device.
The multi-skills team has now been completed at both EPFL and Empa. The R&D campaign will therefore start end of 2017 with the following objectives: 1) screening and selection of the appropriate raw materials; 2) developing suitable manufacturing processes; 3) selecting the processed materials having the desired specifications.
These processed materials will then be converted into medical mask prototypes. The mask prototypes will serve in planned field tests in major Swiss hospitals, with the aim of obtaining usage feedbacks from both the healthcare workers and the patients. Based on these results, a final mask version will be registered with Swissmedic for large-scale manufacturing and distribution.
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Am Projekt beteiligte Personen
Dr. Thierry Pelet
, project leader, Cooperation and Development Center EPFLDr. Klaus Schönenberger
, Program Leader EssentialTech, EPFL, hosts the project at EPFL. Administrative and logistic support.Dr. Sacha Sidjanski
, School of Life Sciences, EPFL, fundraising and communication.Dr. René Rossi
, Head of Laboratory for Protection and Physiology, Empa, hosts the project at Empa. Administrative and logistic support.Dr. Giuseppino Fortunato
, Laboratory for Protection and Physiology, Empa, leads the technical development at Empa.Dr. Géraldine Guex
, Laboratory for Protection and Physiology, Empa, co-leads the technical development at Empa.
Letzte Aktualisierung dieser Projektdarstellung 17.10.2018