Kevin Jacob (19) saw his parents, both doctors, struggling while communicating with patients, through multiple layers of masks and a face shield and wanted to help them amplify the communication better.
Last year in June, he came across the news of a smart mask that could amplify a user's voice as they speak without having to remove or speak aloud. Given the exorbitant cost of the mask, Jacob decided to make a similar version for his parents, News 18 reported.
As the small-sized mic and speakers were expensive, he designed the two through a 3D printer in Class 8 after referring to research papers and videos on YouTube. In addition, he made circuit boards for charging facilities for the device.
He developed a prototype in October 2020 and embedded the gadget in the mask using the magnet.
The first version of the mask did not receive good feedback from the doctors, especially regarding the sound quality. The response was positive after Jacob made some modifications in the circuit and altered the casing of the amplifiers.
He first tested the product with his parents, Dr Senoj KC and Dr Jyoti Mary Jose. The gadget is attached to the mask using a magnet and can be used for four-six hours. The final version is 6.3 cms long, 3 cm wide, and 0.5 cms thick. It can be charged using a micro USB cable and takes up to 45 mins to charge fully.
The mic is embedded in the mask, while the speaker and amplifier are placed over a face shield. If one is not wearing the face shield, the two can be attached on both sides of the mask.
The doctors and healthcare staff lauded his efforts and said they don't have to strain anymore and can communicate with patients effortlessly.
A first-year B-tech student of Computer Science engineering at Thrissur Government Engineering College, Jacob has made 50 masks on demand and is being used by doctors in South India.
The young innovator is now looking forward to companies that would be interested in investing in his project. "Currently, I do not have the capital equipment to mass-produce. But if somebody or a large company is willing to help me with this little project, I believe it could help a lot of people," ANI quoted him as saying.