Design Engineering
Showcase

Mensura Mask

Student
Franciska Kundrak
Team
N/A
Supervisor
Dr Connor Myant
Role
Design Intern
Sector
Industrial Manufacturing

Working with Mensura Mask this summer has been exciting due to the timely nature of the project. Every aspect of life seemed to change almost overnight in response to COVID-19, so this project was able to gain the recognition and media coverage it deserved. Going into this project, I wanted to gain insight into how 3D scanning technology and 3D printing technology could be applied to tackle one of the greatest challenges of the pandemic: ill-fitting PPE for healthcare workers. I was eager to find out how this process could be scaled to be as cost and time-effective as possible.

 — Mensura Mask

Demonstration of Design Engineering Thinking and Skills

Creating the face-scanning instructions was a very important aspect of my placement, because these instructions were to be viewed by every prospective participant in our study. I found that taking the scans outside in direct sunlight had far better results than under other lighting conditions. My work on the group’s Instagram had a modest but important role to spread awareness and respond to informal user queries. Furthermore, by responding to informal user queries, I made the Mensura Mask project seem more approachable and accessible to the prospective users.

 — Mensura Mask
Me wearing one of the Mensura Mask prototypes.

One of the most interesting and purposeful projects I worked on this summer was analysing the accuracy of different scanning methods. These methods included a prediction of what a face looks like in 3D from a 2D image, the iPhone app Bellus 3D, and the Lightroom photogrammetry scan. In total, I analysed the error between 15 different masks and their ‘ground truth’ scans and generated 15 corresponding heat maps for results. These images were then used in an article that Shiya Li (the main PhD researcher) published in a 3D printing specialist journal. Helping Shiya publish that article as quickly as possible will ensure that Mensura Mask is seen as a pioneer in 3D printed custom fit mask technology, and will ensure that they will be in a good position to apply for a patent in the near future.

 — Mensura Mask
The results from analysing the fit of 3 different scanning methods.

Once a great mask design was developed, I shifted my focus to creating equally effective and elegant straps. I wanted to ensure that the straps would not slip down the user’s head, and that they were easily adjustable for a snug but comfortable fit. The final design includes a non-slip silicone backed elastic and two toggles for adjusting the tightness. These straps will be used by future TV presenters and will hopefully be a memorable part of their experience with Mensura Mask.

 — Mensura Mask
The final strap design.

Role and Contributions

As an undergraduate student with only three years of design engineering experience, I felt quite underqualified at the start of my placement. Indeed, every other member of the team was either a PhD student or a researcher. However, I quickly familiarised myself with the project and the different tasks that needed to be achieved, and in no time, I felt like a very useful part of the team. Being a part of Mensura Mask this summer meant that the team could be much more agile and could focus on the more difficult aspects of the problem, while I conducted some of the time-consuming analysis.

This placement was somewhat unorthodox as, like most people, I spent almost all of it working from home. The weekly or twice weekly team meetings helped in boosting morale and keeping all of us accountable with the project. I often had to present my findings over Teams, which was slightly different to presenting in person but was vital for keeping the whole team informed.

Summary

This placement was very rewarding because the work presented a very clear path to purpose. Interacting with prospective users through their emails and social media messages was a frequent reminder of why the work was so important. Doing a placement like this is great if you enjoy working in a team, having lots of free reign, and enjoy coding and CAD.

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