This startup is bringing a human face to surgical masks

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A few years ago, Allysa Dittmar was about to go into surgery, but her interpreter didn’t show up.

Dittmar, who is deaf, was able to lip-read and recognize facial expressions during some of the mandated check that’s required before a procedure, but those were obscured when surgeons, nurses and anaesthesiologists, put on their masks. Things grew more frustrating, and the staff eventually gave up trying.

“At that moment, I could no longer communicate,” Dittmar said Tuesday night at the Johns Hopkins Social Innovation Lab Impact and Innovation Forum.

The experience led to the idea for a company that ended up earning a $25,000 check that night. The ClearMask is a surgical mask that is transparent. It shows the full face, even the sides – which, as Dittmar points out, can still be beneficial for lip-reading.

Read about the team of mostly Hopkins students and alums who came up with the idea over at Technical.ly.

Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock is the editor of Technical.ly Baltimore and an editor-at-large of Baltimore Fishbowl.


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