Skip to main content
Tufts University School of Medicine

Pitching in to Create a New Kind of Safe Mask

“As a clinician, you almost never see a device idea come to fruition that quickly,” said Jan Sliwa, A06, M11, an anesthesiologist at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, showing how the mask works. Photo: Courtesy of Jan Sliwa
Wednesday, April 15, 2020 - 8:00pm

Jan Sliwa, A06, M11, an anesthesiologist at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, had an idea to help protect emergency and operating room doctors from the COVID-19 virus. It started with snorkeling masks.

By design, the masks offer full-face protection. But there was just one hitch. He needed adapters to connect the snorkel side of the mask to antiviral filters widely used in hospitals. That single device, he thought, would eliminate the worry of coming in contact with contaminated air droplets or vapor.

Innovation, as it so often happens, thrives on collaboration, and in this case, it was bicoastal and fast-acting. The manufacturing of the prototype Sliwa envisioned—as designed by Stanford engineers—happened at a Tufts makerspace thanks to the quick response of William Liu, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering.

Read More