‘Arsenal of Health’ returns with Ford’s clear mask innovation

By Dennis Archambault

It’s interesting that one of the engineers involved in creating Ford Motor Company’s innovative clear N95 masks didn’t speak to the market applications for teachers, people with hearing loss, and others. But that the masks reveal smiles that have been hidden for nearly a year in public spaces.

Most of the masks worn today leak vapor at the top and along the sides – evidence the fogged-up glasses that people must deal with. This one is tight. Another interesting aspect of the clear mask is that it’s cheap, and it’s reusable. So,  better design, more efficient use, and inexpensive.  Usually, when new, innovative products are manufactured they come with a high price tag. This one is low cost and reusable – a little like the pragmatic thinking of manufacturing an automobile so everyone can drive.

Ultimately, there’s the value of a smile: “One of the things that’s missing during the pandemic is the power of a smile,” said Jim Baumbick, Ford vice president, Enterprise Product Line Management and leader of the company’s PPE (personal protection equipment) manufacturing effort. “This clear respirator promises to improve interactions between neighbors, at the store, and for those who have hearing impairments.”

Dennis Archambault is vice president of Public Affairs for Authority Health.