What’s the real problem with face masks?

We all know deep inside face masks are great. They might not be perfect, but they are great at preventing MOST of the virus spread (alongside bacterial infections we might spread too when we’re ill).

So why is that in western societies there is so much resistance and opposition to them?

  1. Cultural

  2. Biological. We are wired to see other animals mouths. If another “animal” similes at you, you know you’re not in danger. You don’t need to be in alert mode.

Using masks then is against those principles. There is also something else in a society that is much safer than prehistoric times. And it’s that masks impede proper communication.

Our trust societies are based on communication, and here we are, adding trouble to it. It’s challenging to conversate in this manner. So the same thing that helps us combat infectious spread is the same thing which hinders communication.

So here’s what I’ve thought would be suitable for proper masks to have. [ here goes a video]

I’m not advocating this is the solution. But certainly, it’s a better solution than an FFP2/3 mask. The problem is that whatever you put between your mouth and the exterior world is going to decrease the sound quality as the vibrations in the air are attenuated and absorbed by the soft materials of the masks.

The idea is to have a cell mounted in the inside and which gets excited when you talk. As vibration is a force, it should, in theory, be able to get carried to the endpoint on the other side.

This cell will have a pass-through to the other side of the mask where a membrane will be. If talking “loud” enough, the cell gets excited and passes on these vibrations to the membrane outside. The membrane then vibrates in the same frequency but with a wider amplitude and without anything covering it. In this manner, you will be able to speak normally.

The material in the mouth and cheek area will be made of a clear material. A.k.a. some plastic. And it will look like what a snorkelling mask (see this one) look like on the eyes area. Our mask, though, will have better quality and feature some type of elastic…plastic or glass. Something Corning can surely provide.

The borders of the mask are going to be made of medical-grade silicone. Similar to the material feel of you iWatch strap. Comfortable to wear and with antibacterial properties because it’s going to be used a lot. It also doesn’t matter if you sweat or not, how hot/cold it is and so on as the properties don’t change based on usual heat and humidity levels.

It will have a channel all around the jaw area. The jaw will have three membranes 1 (bigger) in the front (around the chin is) and the other two ones a bit separated. On the inner side of the mask, on the chin, it’s going to have the cell where you can speak. In the chin area, we are going to have a thicker layer or maybe an inserted layer of more solid material (PA12 nylon maybe…) to mount the cell and membranes on.

Masks with a clear area around the mouth are not new, and they have been a couple trending lately. Snorkelling masks are not new, either (duh!). Masks with microphones and speakers have also been seen before. Something aesthetically pleasing as what I’m describing and fully functional has not been seen yet.

I think that can solve the stigma masks have, and we can even enjoy going around with something like that - somehow.