Date: August 2023.
Challenge: NIOSH’s “Respirator Fit Evaluation” Challenge.
Problem: Humans come in many shapes and sizes, as do respirators. This results in wide variability of physical dimensions and features of both people and respirators. The ability of a respirator to form a satisfactory seal or barrier between the wearer and the contaminated environment may be significantly affected by these variabilities. If the respirator-user match (fit) is not checked, an unsatisfactory seal/barrier may unknowingly exist. This could allow excessive leakage of airborne contaminants into the wearer’s breathing zone, despite the user wearing a respirator correctly selected for the application. A fit evaluation is used to address this issue and assess whether a specific type, model and size of respirator can adequately fit a specific individual.
Team: Sundaresan Jayaraman and Sungmee Park, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology. One of the 20 Phase 1 Winners.
Submission: Their innovation device is customized to the individual’s facial profile, continuously monitors the fit unobtrusively, and when there is a change in the fit during use, which could lead to a faceseal leakage, alerts the user through an App on the smartphone thereby ensuring the user’s safety.
Sponsor: The NIOSH Respirator Fit Evaluation Challenge is implemented by Capital Consulting Corporation with Ensemble Consultancy under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on behalf of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).