Ford’s appealing to America’s better angels to keep up the fight against the coronavirus and revealed on Tuesday new technology it plans to roll out, donate and deploy to help the country beat back COVID-19. They’re two specific pieces of technology: A new N95 respirator mask and a simple-to-build air filtration system.
The N95 mask Ford developed is totally transparent and allows people interacting to once again see facial expressions. It’s meant to bring a little more humanity to the pandemic, as smiles, laughter and basic human emotion are hidden behind necessary face coverings. The automaker said it’s confident the design will receive N95 certification for filtration and will continue to test the mask through winter. If all goes well, it hopes to have the masks available this spring.
The second innovation is perhaps even more crucial as local governments weigh options to return children to school and individuals grapple with the risks of congregating at home and in other situations. It’s a simple box-fan filtration kit that includes a die-cut cardboard base, a 20-inch box fan and an air filter. Ford said anyone can assemble the simple system at home, or at school to increase ventilation and reduce the possibility of virus particles concentrating in a space. Flicking the system on pulls unfiltered air through the filter while the fan blows clean air downward to recirculate into a space. The automaker worked with the University of Minnesota to test its system, which showed positive results in reducing particles and droplets lingering in the air in classroom-sized spaces.
Not only does Ford plan to produce these kits, but it will donate 20,000 of them to underserved communities next month with further details on the system to come. In addition, the company will provide the base design for free to encourage replication and widespread use.
Further building on the automaker’s commitment to produce and donate 100 million masks across the US, the automaker said it will increase the figure to 120 million mid-2021. Mask production continued after Ford wrapped up ventilator production last year as the coronavirus pandemic took hold.
In select areas hit hardest by COVID-19, Ford will air a Super Bowl ad it hopes will boost morale as vaccines continue to roll out across the US. If you don’t see it, just know Ford’s confident we got this.
Take an up-close look at Ford’s coronavirus-fighting respirator
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