A new manikin headform has been developed to research ways to prevent respirator inward leakage.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health announced the design of the new technology to better protect the millions of workers who are required to wear respirators at work. The manikin is said to incorporate both art and science to mimic the skin on a human face.
"The robotic advanced headform, built by Hanson Robotics, Inc., performs head movements, as well as the lip and jaw movements of speech, in order to simulate a respirator fit test," according to a post on the NIOSH science blog. "The robotic advanced headform is covered in Frubber, which is a silicone elastomer artificial skin. Several special characteristics make Frubber a good simulated skin for mimicking the human face in a respirator fit evaluation."
- The softness of the material compares well to that of human facial tissues, as does the force required to elongate the material.
- Since it is a porous material, it is able to be compressed in a similar manner as the fluid-filled cellular material of the human face, reproducing natural creases and folds.
- The robotic advanced headform also has specified tissue depths for different locations of the face.
Researchers have developed a way for the headforms to actually recite a poetic string of words that models all possible movements of the human mouth. That will allow them to see how well respirators fit a face that moves and speaks.
"Over 5 million Americans are required to wear respirators in their workplace," said Dr. Maryann D'Alessandro, director of the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory. "The talking head is an innovative scientific advance that offers transformational promise to better understanding respiratory protection and respirator fit for an increasingly diverse workforce."
NIOSH worked in collaboration with the NPPTL, Air Force Research Laboratory, and Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.
By Nancy Grover
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
September 23, 2013
Copyright 2013© LRP Publications