UD developed protective mask scores high in testing


The University of Delaware has developed a new and effective type of protective mask, thanks in part to a phone call from a Yale University faculty member.

When UD’s Jenni Buckley answered her cell phone, she could immediately tell that her friend, Lisa Lattanza, was worried. Dr. Lattanza, chair of orthopedics and rehabilitation at Yale School of Medicine, had already seen 15 cases of COVID-19 by late March, and she was concerned her hospital could run out of face masks. Her voice was urgent.

“What can you create for me fast?” she asked Buckley, who is an associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Design Studio at UD. Buckley and Lattanza co-founded the Perry Initiative, which sponsors outreach programs to inspire young women to be leaders in engineering and medicine.

Meanwhile, at his home in Salem, New Jersey, Whitney Sample, co-director of UD’s Design Studio, received an email from A.I. duPont Hospital for Children, asking for help finding more face masks.

Previously, Sample had worked at the hospital, where, among other innovations, he co-invented an exoskeleton to give children with debilitating conditions such as arthrogryposis the ability to lift their arms.


Sample and Buckley discussed ideas with Lattanza at Yale and colleagues at A.I. duPont. They began scouring face mask designs on GrabCAD, an open-source forum of over 7 million engineers, designers, manufacturers and students.

“The designs that were out there were a great start, but there were issues with functionality and we were in a unique position with our training and resources to tackle that,” said Sample, an industrial designer by training, with 20 years of experience in the medical field.

The clinicians wanted a mask that sat out from the face, so that breathing humid air would not impact the integrity of the filter.

So Sample and Buckley and their team, which included faculty, students and clinical partners, set out to build a better face mask. And so the “HensNest” was born.

An update: Safety testing results came back indicating the HensNest has 4-23x better protection compared to sewn face masks, depending on the filter material used.)

Click here  for the story from UDaily.