The new normal is wearing a face mask in public. However, wearing one presents an obstacle to communication with people with hearing disabilities who often read lips to communicate with hearing people. BGU School of Public Health doctoral student Carolina Tannenbaum-Baruchi (pictured below) has joined forces with Maayan Levin, mentor of high school robotics team “Roboactive #2096” from Dimona, to solve the problem. Their solution is the “Read My Lips” facemask which is transparent in front and does not fog up.
Both of Tannenbaum-Baruchi’s parents are deaf and 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 Faculty of Health Sciences.
The “Roboactive #2096” robotics team from Zinman Darca High School in Dimona developed the mask according to Tannenbaum-Baruchi’s research insights using their 3-D printers.
“Over the last three weeks, we have planned, developed and created the mask from home, with the assistance of 3-D printers. The result - the first mask of its kind,” explains Maayan Levin, “It is reusable, washable and sterilizable, and is easy to breathe in. It 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 concludes excitedly.
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, which was initiated by BGU President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz to harness the ingenuity of the faculty and the resources of the University to tackle the myriad challenges the current pandemic poses.
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