Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has produced a variety of different inventions to alleviate the harmful effects of the disease and for other viruses. In the United States, shortages of essential items such as facemasks, gloves, and antibacterial solutions have created a unique demand for out-of-the-box thinking and innovation. Inventors have responded, bringing numerous novel inventions and improvements of existing inventions to the market.
Due to the unprecedented demand for protective facemasks, particularly respiratory masks (technically known as Filtering Facepiece Respirators (FFRs)), thus increasingly becoming scarce. The respiratory mask shortage has led to governments, hospitals, first responders, and citizens not having the capability to purchase them.
To date, the N95 respirator masks are the most common and well known type of respiratory masks. The N95 designation means the respirator mask can block at least 95 percent of very small airborne particles (i.e., dust, pollen, mold spores, and other dangers) from entering the wearer’s nose and mouth. Also, the N95 respirator masks is not resistant to oil. Virus particles are so small, hundreds of nanometers in diameter, that protection requires high-efficiency filtration materials. Some N95 respirators have been observed to perform at their worst against particles approximately between 0.04 and 0.2 μm, which includes the sizes of coronavirus and influenza virus.
As a result, inventors are increasingly taking unprecedented steps to develop and innovate existing respiratory masks technology with an alternative or improved respiratory masks technology. This has included completely new respirator mask inventions, improving the protective functionality of face masks by preventing face-seal leaks, guarding the eyes, or adding filters with antiviral and antibacterial agents. Others are taking already respirator mask products from the market, like snorkeling masks and face shields, and using 3D Printing technology and other methods and processes to transform these products into protective facemasks and, or respiratory masks.
Since the world’s supply chains are unable to ship conventional Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) components, various governments, healthcare systems, universities, and businesses are looking for alternatives. As the healthcare demands in the United States increase, hospitals will have to be more creative in meeting the needs that their traditional sources may not be able to supply.
For example, a cross-disciplinary team at Emory Healthcare® and the Georgia Institute of Technology® is working on a new effort to supply thousands of face shields to health care professionals on front lines. Using 3D printers and laser cutting machines, the team has developed innovative face shield kits that can be manufactured in high volumes for the rapid response environment that COVID-19 requires. 3D printing would allow common household materials, for example, party tablecloths – plastic on one side to prevent spills from going through, and paper on the other for festive designs to produce various PPE’s. Additional examples include Formlabs®, a Massachusetts-based 3D printing technology developer and manufacturers are keeping the products that they would generally sell and using them to produce nasal swabs for COVID-19 testing, as well as face shields to deter the further spread of the virus. Other companies like HP® and SmileDirectClub® are using their 3D printers to produce ventilator valves, facemask clamps, and breathing filters.
Individuals are getting involved as well. Many individual 3D printer owners have shared their 3D printing plans for public use to encourage the production of some of the items mentioned above, as well as items geared to a broader market, such as hands-free door openers, customizable facemasks, and ventilators that use snorkel masks as their foundation.
Experienced Patent Attorneys
In a situation like the one at hand, innovation plays an essential role in promoting the health and safety of people all around the world. While this is an excellent opportunity to bring new inventions related to the COVID-19 pandemic to the market, the need to properly protect those inventions still exists and maybe more important now than ever before. Having the right lawyers on your side to protect your inventions can make all the difference. The Plus IP Firm’s experienced patent lawyers represent inventors of all types seeking to prevent, treat and eliminate coronavirus disease. We will fight to win your case, so that you can profit from your inventions. Learn more during a free case evaluation.
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