Bay Area sisters invent device to ensure masks fit correctly to protect you from COVID-19

Kristen Sze Image
Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Bay Area sisters invented brace device to ensure better mask fit
Engineer sisters in the Bay Area invented a device to make masks fit securely to face.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Upon realizing that surgical masks did not provide the tight fit that ensured the wearer could breathe clean filtered air, these sisters devised a simple hack to help give surgical masks the seal that N95 masks provide.

Sabrina and Katherine Paseman grew up in the Bay Area. Both are engineers. Sabrina went to Cornell University and most recently worked for Apple. Katherine went to MIT and worked for several Silicon Valley companies.

When COVID-19 hit and revealed a critical shortage in N95 masks for healthcare workers, the Paseman sisters went to work.

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The result is the Essential Mask Brace by Fix the Mask. Fast Company named it one of the 10 most exciting world-changing ideas of 2020.

They say that fit is everything, as most masks do not provide a good seal to the face on the sides. The device also prevents glasses fog.

Fix the Mask CEO Katherine Paseman joined ABC7 News Anchor Kristen Sze on 'Getting Answers' to share how their rubber brace works. There is even a template on their website if you want to make your own.

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Paseman was joined by University of Maryland School of Public Health Professor, Dr. Don Milton, who also explained why safe masking requires both good filtration and a tight fit, which is missing in many KN95 masks.

He also explained why double-masking can work against the wearer and why cloth is simply not enough protection now with the COVID-19 variants.