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This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)

Copper3D creates open source mask to fight coronavirus

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)

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Contxto – We’ve heard of biotechs’ approaches to coronavirus. However, here’s another take: 3D printing. In light of high demand for N95 masks, entrepreneurs from Chilean Copper3D created and launched a downloadable design of an antiviral mask for 3D printing yesterday (18).

Known as “NanoHack,” the startup boasts that it’s reusable, recyclable, and antiviral. And its STL files for creating it on a 3D printer are free for downloading here

Although it’s worth pointing out that to make it, the Copper3D says you’ll require PLACTIVE, a unique plastic that makes the mask antiviral and antibacterial in the first place. Not to mention some assembly is required.

Related article: What COVID-19 will do to our startup ecosystem in Latin America

NanoHack ads an eco-friendly hack to masks

N95 masks are unfortunately all the rage right now. But some sources state they should only be worn for around eight hours before being thrown away. And so coronavirus is not only affecting our health, lifestyles, the economy, but the environment as well.

In that sense, entrepreneurs and founders of Copper3D, Andrés Acuña, Daniel Martínez, and Claudio Soto created NanoHack as a way to “hack” our approach to N95 masks through a unique plastic.

Their startup develops antibacterial materials to deter infections and now they’ve brought that tech into the realm of face masks with their PLACTIVE material. Its nanocomposite is biodegradable and has the nod of approval from the FDA, is ISO certified and compliant with standards from the European Union, according to its website.

Some considerations

This product certainly brings an eco-friendly edge to face masks. And the fact that it’s approved of by these well-known regulatory bodies brings some reassurance as to its protective capabilities. However, there are a few setbacks.

For the average Joe, hospital, or healthcare center it’s unlikely they’ll have a 3D printer at hand.

And the PLACTIVE that’s used for the NanoHack is in high demand, so the startup is experiencing “a global shortage of our materials” as stated on its social media:

On one site, a package of this material was sold at US$93.

Plus, there’s a manual process to make the mask. That can easily be handled by individual buyers. However, given healthcare staff’s workloads, I’m not sure they have the peace of mind to make theirs. 

All this means that if they were to be used in hospitals, they’d need to be supplied by some third party vendor who can take care of all these considerations.

Last but not least, the mask does require cleaning so it can effectively protect you. So if you’re careless, it may become ineffective and put your health and others’ at risk.

But it’s awesome to see startups like Copper3D open-sourcing their design to share their knowledge to benefit everyone.

Related articles: Tech and startups from Chile!

-ML

Mariana López
Eager learner and fervent asker of existential questions. My topic darlings are startup management, edtech and all things pop-culture. If you don't see me smiling, I'm probably just hungry. J Balvin is Latin America's best reggaetonero and I dare you to convince me otherwise.

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