May 29, 2022
JERUSALEM WEATHER

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Wearing a face mask is absolutely necessary for helping to avoid infection by COVID-19 and infecting other people in your vicinity. But it also makes it difficult for the deaf and other hearing disabled to understand you, especially if they read lips.

Now, a doctoral student at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) School of Public Health in Beersheba has helped design a face mask that is transparent in front but doesn’t fog due to exhaling.

Carolina Tannenbaum-Baruchi joined forces with Maayan Levin, a mentor of the Roboactive #2096 robotics team at Zinman Darca High School in Dimona (30 kilometers southeast of Beersheba) to solve the problem. Their solution is the “Read My Lips” facemask. 

As both of Tannenbaum-Baruchi’s parents are deaf, she has devoted her research to improving the lives of the deaf and hard of hearing community in Israel. Her thesis advisors are Prof. Limor Aharonson-Daniel and Dr. Paula Feder-Bubis of the BGU Faculty of Health Sciences. Using their 3-D printers, the high school robotics team developed the mask according to Tannenbaum-Baruchi’s research insights. 

“Over the last three weeks, we have planned, developed and created the mask from home, with the assistance of 3-D printers. The result is

the first mask of its kind,” noted Levin, “It is reusable, washable and sterilizable, and it is easy to breathe while wearing it.” The face mask 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.” 

“Hours of conversations, messages, video clips and attempts have resulted in this transparent mask,” Tannenbaum-Baruchi concluded with excitement. Currently, they are 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 – initiated by BGU president Prof. Daniel Chamovitz to harness the ingenuity of the faculty and the resources of the university to tackle the many challenges posed by the current pandemic.