The coronavirus epidemic requires many professions to wear a mask all daylong. A constraint that could be alleviated by Artificial Intelligence capable of adapting the mask to the morphology of each face. Several companies in the region are already working on this idea.
At the end of the confinement, the wearing of the mask will impose itself in our lives. Some professional categories will have to wear it for whole days.
Depending on the material and elasticity of this mask, depending also on the derm and patience of its user, wearing this facial strip can be unpleasant or annoying.
A company already specializing in personalized medical disposititives has created a mask capable of matching the shape of the face.
In the manner of a tailor-made garment. .
“We are already working in the field of orthopaedics, and we are also designing plagiocephaly helmets for children.
So we have the tools to customize any object on the human body.
explains Frédéric Van Meer, one of the co-founders of AnaToscope, a Montpellier-based company that works in partnership with companies in Bouches-du-Rhône.-du-Rhône.
A very simple process
For the user interested in a custom mask, the process is very simple: just scan his face using a downloadable application on smartphone. And thus create its digital double.
From these images obtained through Artificial Intelligence, a virtual mask is tested on this digital twin.
Until it fits perfectly to the morphology of the face.
The hightech company created for it AnatoMask.
There are open source 3D en models as well as design guides, free 3D scanning applications for smartphones.
Frederic Van Meer points out:
There could be different masks depending on the trades, different designs depending on the age… So we called on designers.
Coming from the world of research and medicine,the founders of AnaToscope are not “design experts”.
For the rest, they turned to another start-up located in Marignane,3D medLab.
he company is already designing and developing 3D orthopedic and cardiovascular prostheses.
The idea of a bespoke mask, customizable and washable, in bio compatible material inspires them. The company has reprogrammed its 3D printers for this purpose.
“We have already created proptotypes of elastomer and customizable masks,” says Gael Volpi, CEO of 3DmedLab.
“TheyIls are intended for healthcare professionals, because they are our clientele. Some people are going to have to wear it at length. This requires optimal comfort.”
The mask will have a removable part to trap the filtering fabric, which is still being tested.
The filters will be changed at different rates, depending on the user’s profession. “Several times a day for a dentist,a little less for the general practitioner…
The mask will be washable in hot water with a disinfectant, or can pass to the washing machine at 60 degrees.
“There will be other viruses…
Anatoscope also works in partnership with another Bouches-du-Rhône Bouches-du-company: BiotechDental. This company produces 3D dental devices on an industrial scale. Its CEO Philippe Véran is also keenly interested in a custom mask.
“Since the beginning of the epidemic, we have adapted our machines for the manufacture of visors and have designed prototype masks.”
Dentists are particularly at risk of infection with the virus.
Acts based on aerosols and turbines cause projections that they must be sure they can protect themselves.
“You have to get as much guarantee as possible.
For this,the manufacturing process must be validated by the certifying bodies. And it can take a lot of time. Several months probably…The system is certainly well done.
Precautions are necessary. I’m just claiming that the procedures are lightened on the test part.
The leader of BiotechDental is pessimistic about the time it takes to create a mask that is both comfortable and protective for its clientele of dentists.
But he is still pursuing research in this direction, convinced that”there will be other viruses. This crisis has allowed us en to realize this. By then,we will have our medically certified product.”
A mask sculpted by Artificial Intelligence could be of interest to other non-medical professions, such as those in industry.
On the general public side, custom masks would also be more comfortable and suitable for the faces of children and teenagers…
And even women. Most of the standart masks in circulation were made from male models…