©Leon Vrijdag fotografie

Designing a face mask that can be used several times and doesn’t end up as litter on the street – that was Joop van den Heuvel’s idea back in March 2020. Van den Heuvel is known, among other things, as the designer of the Efteling amusement park rollercoaster De Vogelrok in The Netherlands. When he heard complaints voiced about the shortage of face masks in March, he started designing the See True mask.

The design

Van den Heuvel: “As a designer, you look at and think about products from a different angle. I regularly heard on the radio that there was a shortage of face masks. At the time, I thought there ought to be a solution for this. I wanted to design a face mask that you don’t have to throw away and that can be recycled. Since then, eleven months have passed and the product now meets a whole host of other requirements. For one thing, at the outset, I hadn’t envisioned a transparent mask.”

“The See True mask is crystal clear and does not fog up. I worked with a GP during its development who said to me at the time that it would be very nice if the product was transparent. In intensive care units, care for the disabled and elderly with dementia, it can be difficult for patients to only see people wearing face masks. That’s why we decided to move forward with it.”

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“There is an FF2 filter in the mask, it fits snugly and it has a membrane in it for the exhaled air. This membrane ensures the wearer does not become short of breath. The material is also treated with an antiviral nanotechnology which enables the mask to kill viruses and bacteria.The product should last about 2 to 3 years in total. It is not disposable and will not end up on the street. When the product wears out, it can be sent back and we will make sure it is recycled.”

“My partners and I believe it is important that face masks should be readily available to everyone. Once the mask has been inspected, released to the market and we have recouped our costs, we will donate an extra face mask to a charity with every purchase of the product. There will be a list of charities on our website and buyers can then choose who they want to donate the second mask to. In terms of these charities, you could consider the Salvation Army or the Food Bank, for example.”

Testing phase

Production started this past week. “We hope to start the presale of the masks to individuals in a week and a half. The product is currently undergoing testing in England at the BSI. The equipment to carry out the tests is not available here in the Netherlands. If the results of these tests are positive, we will also be allowed to supply healthcare institutions. We are expecting the test phase to last around two and a half months.”

Various healthcare institutions have already expressed interest in the mask. Even Prince Constantijn has responded with great enthusiasm to the See True mask. It will soon be made available to the general public.

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