A Toronto company has created a face mask that allows the wearer to drink without having to remove, or even touch, their mask.
At some point during the last seven months, you’ve probably bought a coffee, water, or some other beverage, only to remember that you’re wearing a face mask and can’t take a sip. Now you have to decide whether to put yourself at risk and remove your mask, or waste your drink and deal with dehydration.
The Sippo Mask solves the very 2020 dilemma.
The reusable face mask features a self-sealing port that allows you to safely insert a straw and take a sip from your desired beverage.
“We need to wear masks but we also need to stay hydrated,” said Pothik Karim, the creator of the Sippo. “This feature makes mask wearing that much more comfortable.”
As the realities of the pandemic set in during the spring, Karim, a senior producer at Toronto’s T1 Agency, realized that masks were going to be a lot more ubiquitous in daily life.
The experiential marketing firm had implored their staff to come up with ideas that would proactively address problems created by coronavirus. If they could make a business case for their idea, the company would invest, said Karim.
Brainstorming with his wife, the couple figured that a mask you could drink through without putting yourself at risk would not only be useful to everyday people trying to stay safe, but would benefit anyone required to wear a mask for an extended period of time, like a cashier or flight attendant, as well.
T1 gave him a small budget to figure out if the concept was viable, and he spent the next few months tweaking the idea. Three iterations later, the Sippo Mask was ready.
“Once the straw is removed, it retains your respiratory droplets,” said Karim. “It does that as well as any other non-medical grade mask you can buy, but it does so with the added convenience of letting you take a drink.”
In his research Karim says he came across similar ideas that utilized overlapping layers of fabric, plugs, zippers, and even Velcro. But none of them were both hands-free and completely sealed.
The innovative design was inspired by heart valves – allowing liquid or air through a hole without letting it escape in the opposite direction. Even if you hold a candle in front of the Sippo’s port you can’t blow it out, Karim said.
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The Sippo has been tested with several different types of straws, including paper, plastic, silicone, and metal, and functions properly with each material, according to Karim. It’s made in Canada from high-quality fabric, features an adjustable nose bridge, and comes in four sizes.
The masks are currently available for pre-order and cost $19.99.
Karim stresses that Sippo Mask users should continue follow health and safety protocols, such as physical distancing and frequent hand washing, while wearing the mask.
“We’re all facing this pandemic together,” said Karim. “Lets use our skills to find simple solutions that will make our new normal easier for everyone.”