Art Center College of Design
Komrad is effective, intuitive, and portable. Intended users: artists, designers, and students who own their own respirator. folds in half with a built-in zipper lock for portability and sterility. a sensitive nano nose microsensor monitors the air purity inside the mask and notifies user when the filters start to run out push-button filters that automatically seal when not in use lengthening lifespan triple exhalation valves to alleviate heat build-up Geckel adhesive face seal replaces cumbersome upper straps present on all respirators today magnetic strap clasp and release buttons make it easy to put on/take off mask2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
Brief: Protective Gear for 2017. Problems/Challenges: The most commonly used respirator in the world is the 3M 6000. Although it is relatively inexpensive, it is not designed to protect you. It is extremely uncomfortable, and doesn’t provide clear, sufficient information on how to properly use and maintain it. A majority of the time, users are not being protected. Interview insights from 25 users: 96% do not perform user seal checks ever, a procedure performed to test validity of seal on face before each use. This is because nobody knows about it (it’s briefly mentioned in the overly complicated and wordy user manual that nobody ever reads). Amajority of users are using dead filters, meaning no protection even if they’re wearing a mask (it's unclear and confusing when to replace filters to new ones.) Some users have been using the same filters for over 2 years. Most users unknowingly waste filters when not in use by not sealing them in air-tight containers. The upper strap is too cumbersome, getting in the way of eyewear, headgear, etc. Mask pushes too tightly against face causing discomfort (because the mask is so heavy, it needs to be pushed aggressively into user’s face).3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
My point of view is that I, myself, am a user. I have owned several 3m 6000 respirators (because I misplaced a lot of them) and actually rarely use them because they're so uncomfortable. The fact that I choose comfort over my health is a huge deal. Also, I’ve never bought replacement filters because I never know when to replace them. Even before conducting interviews, I observed many people doing the same thing around school (not wearing masks even when they own one, not replacing filters ever, constantly misplacing masks). So, even before this project commenced, I knew something had to be done about this. So, in essence, my point of view for this project is that I actually care about the health and wellbeing of the users. Even though standard respirators sold today might be more affordable, it is worth it when one takes into consideration the “real” protection, comfort, and ease of use Komrad provides. It is the difference between being protected and not being protected (or being unclear or confused about whether you’re really being protected).4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
Activities in my process: - secondary research on existing products (how they're manufactured and assembled, distributed, retailed, materials used, how research was conducted to design these, other competitors’ products, history, etc.) - 25 personal interviews with various types of users (art/design students, experts, store owners, independent artists, 3M employees, material experts, CEO’s, etc) and kept in contact with them throughout my design process and afterwards as well. - thorough technology and material research (upcoming and existing) ranging from new ways of filtering particles and fumes, to advanced nano technology. - made many different types of mock-up models for volumetric to material studies. - blue sky ideation, development, and refinement (ranging from sketching, mock-ups, trial and error, brainstorming) to create the best product possible in terms of practicality, functionality, ergonomics, and aesthetics. - personal observations (personally using and experimenting with the mask for various reasons like validity of seal, comfort, ergonomics, functionality)5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
Komrad uses a flexible 4mm activated carbon fiber filter which provides the same protection as the heavy 2cm carbon granule that all respirators use today, making the respirator much lighter in weight. -has a triple exhalation valve compared to the traditional single, allowing significantly better air circulation, alleviating heat built-up that causes major discomfort. -the liquidskin silicone face seal with Geckel adhesive and Lycra elastic fiber creates stronger seal around user’s nose bridge, which is the area most prone to leaks, and conforms to all facial structures. -Geckel adhesive is also safe and replaces the highly cumbersome upper straps that cause the most discomfort. -has a sensitive nano nose microsensor that monitors the air purity inside the mask and notifies the user precisely when the filters start to run out, using a pinpoint LED light and a beep sound from small speakers. -has strap release buttons and a magnetic strap clasp that make putting on/taking off the respirator effortless. -replacement filters have a built-in battery that continuously supplies the mask with power to operate. -folds in half, seals with zipper lock when not in use, and hooks onto backpack or pants with carabiner; better portability and easy to monitor. -folded and sealed, it locks out dust and harmful particles that may contaminate it. Komrad is worth much more than its price tag for the protection, comfort, and ease of use it provides.