MaskComms is a collaboration between industry, health, and academia that specialise in the design of mask-wearing equipment to aid communication professionals in the hospital environment.
The team is led by Dr Simon Burnell - Consultant Anaesthetist, and consists of Wyn Griffith - Product Design Engineer and Thomas Turner – Product Designer, is supported by by Awyr Las, Santander and Swansea University's Healthcare Technology Centre to support the team tackle the challenges around mask-wearing errors during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Overcoming communication barriers while wearing PPE
Communication is significantly impaired when wearing PPE facemasks due to the muffling of the voice and significant reduction in facial cues further reducing the effectiveness of communication and increasing the likelihood of errors.
MaskComms identified the need for a microphone device which will be designed to be small enough to fit inside any PPE face mask and transmit voice through wireless to a wearable loudspeaker. It will provide a customisable platform where a mask-wearing group of healthcare professionals can communicate easily in the hospital environment, such as during a surgical procedure.
The Healthcare Technology Centre (HTC) has helped to establish a comprehensive literature providing details on commercially available short-range wireless audio communication systems. This knowledge was then utilised by HTC to prepare and develop the MaskComms device; creating four functional prototypes with real-time voice to text conversion software.
This project is part of the Accelerate programme which is part-funded by the European Regional Development fund, through Welsh Government.