Interview with Dr. Ivan Zhao developer of the Filter Fan Cap
My name is Dr. Ivan Zhao and I’m the head of new technology R&D and project management at Innokin Technology.
I’ve had a keen interest in health and harm reduction technologies from a young age and I’m happy to apply my knowledge and passion into developing new technologies and products.
How did the Filter Fan Cap (FFC) idea come out? The Covid-19 pandemic and the need for improved PPE products inspired me to create the FFC – a cap that helps protect and cool.
The majority of my time at Innokin has been spent developing electronic cigarettes and tobacco harm reduction technologies. Development of new products and technologies often involves teams of people vaping in order to test and improve products.
However, Covid-19 has prevented this type of testing and development due to the stringent preventive measures that workplaces have implemented. Face masks must be worn at all times and social distancing is mandatory. This has limited co-workers from meeting together and has made communication difficult.
Furthermore, air conditioning has been turned off in many offices as a preventive measure. With the onset of summer, wearing masks has become rather uncomfortable in the heat.
When researching PPE products and preventative care technologies I found photographs of health care workers wearing facial shields. Reading about the advantages of wearing face shields, and thinking about the limitations of masks at work, inspired me to create the FFC.
- With the rapid onset of Covid-19, that spreads from person to person via the air and physical contact, the need for protective facial head wear has never been greater
- The minimal requirements for such protective gear are to be able to filter out solid particles and liquid droplets on which the coronavirus may survive. The most popular example of a product which can do this effectively is the N95 mask,
- Simple surgical masks have numerous problems, including but not limited to:
- Discomfort due to humidity and heat.
- Incomplete coverage and protection of the entire facial area, especially the eyes, which is a common infection vector for the Covid-19 coronavirus.
- Certain products that have facial shields seek to address the above problem, but suffer from poor ventilation which causes discomfort.
- Irritation may result from physical contact with masks on the face.
- Face shields may build up condensation from lack of internal air circulation.
- A product that offers full frontal protection of the face against any form of coronavirus infection through contact with mucous membranes.
- A design that has the comfort of the user in mind, through adding ventilation and cooling.
- Replaceable KN95 filters
- Washable and reusable
- Adding a transparent, protective all-round shield from the face to the back of the head. The face shield is secured to the cap by zippers so that it can be easily detached.
- Adding an airflow system consisting of a dual fan inlet on the top of the cap’s bill and an outlet underneath.
- Air cooling is achieved through both the downward draft created by the fan.
The FFC is ideal for all kinds of real life situation, is modular and offers three levels of protection.
- On some crowded occasions such as metro and bus commute, airplane and train travelling, you can wear the FFC plus a face shield and a quality mask. This case also applies to some service staff such as gas stations, convenience stores, super markets, airports and train stations.
- If you in a low infection area and the mask wearing is not a local compulsive regulation, you can just wear the FFC with the shield. The FFC and the face shield offer both protection and comfort. Turn on the fan and the KN95 filtered air washes down behind the shield keeping the air cool and fresh.
- Some occasions such as eating in a restaurant or drink in a bar, doing exercise in a gym, smoking or vaping, open areas with fewer people such as on the beach, you can wear the FFC with the detachment of the shield. The dual fans cool your face and the constant stream of filtered air keeps you breathing clean.
Dr. Ivan Zhao, graduated from University College London (PhD in Condensed Matter and Materials Physics), and Churchill College, Cambridge University (BA/MSc in Physics). He used to work as Chief Technical Officer at Kuga Digital (Singapore) Co. Ltd, and now is in charge of R&D and project management in Innokin.