UCT student designs ear tech solution for face masks

Published Aug 18, 2020



University of Cape Town (UCT) biomedical engineering student Lara Timm found a solution to the discomfort around the ears of wearing common masks and designed an ear saver solution called UCT Hearo.

Members of the UCT Covid-19 research team highlighted the flat which irritates the skin and often needs adjusting which increases the risk of self-contamination.

Hearo is a soft, flexible device and ensures face masks sit comfortably and securely over the nose and mouth.

“Initially these devices were being 3D printed, but we could do this in-house using our 3D printers in the lab,” said Timm.

“Although the solution was effective, it was not efficient. With a manufacturing time between 30 and 40 minutes per device.

“Laser cutting the Hearos was more efficient, but sourcing materials became difficult, with suppliers experiencing stock delays due to the pandemic,” she said.

Timm managed to outsource manufacturing to local companies and hopes to supply as many Hearos to frontline workers to ensure it has a big impact.

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