back to article Apple creates face shield for health workers, resists the temptation to call it the 'iMask'

Apple has designed a face shield to help health workers stay safer when working around the novel coronavirus. The Register can't quite believe the company hasn't called it the iMask. The fruity firm does appear to have come up with a pleasing design that uses just three components, can be assembled in moments, and doesn't have …

  1. chivo243 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    iMask was taken

    https://www.cultofmac.com/690631/apple-mask-pro-concept-counters-coronavirus-concerns-with-laughs/

    Glad to see Apple really doing something for the cause!

    1. Patched Out

      Re: iMask was taken

      Yes, but you need an Apple iGadget to read the assembly instructions. </SNARK>

      1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

        Re: iMask was taken

        But they claim it is more resistant to viruses then the "Win10x Microsoft Defender 20H03 Mask".

  2. Locky
    Coat

    There's a "You're wearing it wrong" joke in here, I'm sure of it...

    1. macjules Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Could have been worse ... they could have made the visor from the same glass as they use in their iPhones.

  3. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    Can't knock Apple for this kind of thing.

    Even if one was to be really harshly cynical and call it a marketing/awareness exercise, it's still a good thing.

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Even if one was to be really harshly cynical and call it a viral marketing/awareness exercise, it's still a good thing.

      FTFY

      1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

        Very good. I see what you did there.

    2. Antonius_Prime

      In fairness, Apple plopped down $15 million with no strings.

      Facebook said "$10 million, if the FB community donates as well", which seems a bit forced t'me.

      But what would I know, I'm not a sillycon valley billionaire tech maven...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nick Ryan>> Can't knock Apple for this kind of thing.

      Let's first wait and see if they go after the innovative people, who been 3D printing these at home for the last weeks, for patent infringement.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        On a similar note, I keep reading these stories of companies putting the design and engineering teams to work to come up with their own unique design for face masks while the internet is already drowning in many, many design specs for masks. I don't think I've heard of a single report of a company saying, "hey, we got this free design off the internnt, confirmed it was good, and started making 1000's of them. Thanks designer, that saved us a couple of days of R&D and got the masks out the door quicker."

        The cynic in me wonders if all these company designed ones have the company logo on them and how much that adds to the production process both in time and money. When you are making 1000's at high speed, an extra second per unit soon mounts up.

        1. Doug_S

          Wouldn't necessarily add any time at all

          Adding an extra step to an assembly line doesn't change the throughput, only the latency to get the first one. An extra second there hardly matters.

          1. You aint sin me, roit

            Re: Wouldn't necessarily add any time at all

            Like Dyson designing a new ventilator, but hasnt yet delivered any.

            1. ShadowDragon8685

              Re: Wouldn't necessarily add any time at all

              A ventilator is rather a bit more complicated than a face-mask, though.

              Done wrong, a ventilator can kill the person it's being used on faster than the virus can.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Wouldn't necessarily add any time at all

            That would depend on whether the step can be added into the existing line or if it's an extra step that has to be added onto the end of the process. Hopefully, it's just a dabber or roller process as part of the existing line, in which case, no, it won't add time.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I suspect the main problem (which was also holding back other US companies) is their infernal legal system which allows anyone to milk a manufacturer for billions if they fail to mention that eating a mask may hurt your intestines.

          By producing in-house, they may have more control over their liability exposure.

          It's just a theory, but I have seen the spectre of litigation show up in more than one discussion about doing something to help. IMHO, if there's something useful that Trump's lot could do with their subversion of the legal system, it would be suspending liability exposure for companies doing something positive for healthcare worker protection. They need it, and they certainly deserve it.

          1. ShadowDragon8685

            > IMHO, if there's something useful that Trump's lot could do with their subversion of the legal system, it would be suspending liability exposure for companies doing something positive for healthcare worker protection.

            And then come 2035, we have massive waves of healthcare workers or patients who were front lines in 2020 and survived the Covids dropping dead because companies excited at being freed from liability exposure turned massive stockpiles of turbo-toxo-carcinogens they were hiding from the regulators and trying to dupe a third-world country into taking into face masks and ventilators.

            1. philebbeer

              ....just like 'I am legend' with Will Smith (2007)

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "3D printing these at home for the last weeks"

        It's a poor use of a 3D printer. A steel rule die in a clicker press can bang out orders of magnitudes more face shields in an hour than a 3d printer can in a day.

        I like that Apple made them very simple. It makes them easier to dispose of and very fast to make.

        1. ShadowDragon8685

          > It's a poor use of a 3D printer. A steel rule die in a clicker press can bang out orders of magnitudes more face shields in an hour than a 3d printer can in a day.

          Thing is most folks don't have steel rule dies or clicker presses.

          Sometimes you make do with what you have, and what you have is way more technical and complicated than the machines you really need to make the widget you need, but you don't have those machines, you have the 3d printer. And it's doubtful that you can use the 3d printer to make those machines, and even if you can, it will certainly take ages and probably involve a few failures.

    4. HildyJ Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Much as I dislike iStuff, I appreciate them doing this.

      Still, I wonder why shields rather than masks which are used by all their production plants?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Still, I wonder why shields rather than masks which are used by all their production plants?"

        To be honest, both are needed. Masks help, but become saturated after a short period of time, and thus need to be changed. Being hard plastic, shields can be sterilised by being wiped down with sanitiser, and don't need changing every couple of hours. They also provide protection for the eyes, which is another infection vector for COVID.

      2. MrDamage

        Because they've already donated masks sourced from within their supply chain.

        https://techcrunch.com/2020/03/25/apple-will-donate-10m-face-masks-to-healthcare-workers/

        This is something they can actually produce quickly, rather than having to retool. It won't stop you from breathing it in, but it will stop droplets of spittle hitting your face when someone coughs, and will be a handy reminder not to touch your face to begin with.

      3. MachDiamond Silver badge

        The shields were needed and Apple saw a way to make a whole bunch very quickly with what they have on hand. Apple's production plants are in Asia (mostly sub-contracted).

    5. Ima Ballsy
      Coat

      Ah yes ...

      The SHIELD only cost $10 USD, but the headband ..... $999.90

  4. Mr Dogshit

    No 3.5mm headphone socket I note.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Coat

      Bad news. It may be free, but the iMask port to 3.5mm adaptor retails at $199.99.

  5. PM from Hell
    Facepalm

    It Definitely needs a name

    How about ..... iProtection

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: It Definitely needs a name

      I thought "M-iSK" - pronounced as in South African English.

  6. bartsmit
    Happy

    Grass root projects

    There is a lot of similar effort at a local level, such as Ricky El-Qasem in Manchester running his 3D printer at capacity: https://www.gofundme.com/f/northwest-ppe-project

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Grass root projects

      I did see that CDT teachers in two schools had made nearly 1000 visors and donated them to their local hospitals/healthcare workers (bonus of being local - it's really easy to make sure your thing reaches those who need it quick, instead of sitting in a logistics hub while you work out how to distribute it). :)

  7. Julz Silver badge
    Joke

    Watch

    Out for those rounded corners...

    1. teknopaul Silver badge

      Re: Watch

      Could do with actually fitting over your nose and mount. surely airborn viruses will not be blocked by this thing at all. Have the tested it or just decided it looks nice?

      1. ShadowDragon8685

        Re: Watch

        Airborne, no. Face shields are there to stop splatter, not stuff so aerosolized that it can get sucked in by air currents.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How many of these go straight in the bin as they are not made to any specification / certified standards?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Pretty much what BrewDog discovered when they tried making hand sanitiser for local hospitals. Turns out that standards and specifications are a thing and that not just anyone can have-a-go at creating medical supplies, who knew?

      https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/apr/02/brewdog-hand-sanitiser-turned-down-local-hospitals-scotland

      Similarly all the drugs Trump is touting at the moment (including offering them to Boris) - none of them tested or certified, but to quote the Donald "What's the harm in trying it?". Turns out, a lot if it causes side-effects.

      1. Claverhouse Silver badge

        I certainly don't see any harm in Boris being given Trump Cures.

  9. chivo243 Silver badge
    Coat

    iGag

    I know, not os funny...

  10. John Robson Silver badge

    The question of course...

    Is it what the healthcare community are asking for?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbEj7M3aZIg

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah, Apple belatedly discovers the Prusa mask 3D printing project (https://blog.prusaprinters.org/from-design-to-mass-3d-printing-of-medical-shields-in-three-days/) that practically every single enthusiast in the world is frantically knocking out at high rate.

    Nice of them to join in, albeit very late to the party; so frigging many masks have been delivered in the last two weeks that in the UK companies like BT have (at least locally) been acting as communication, distribution and supply hubs to keep maximum rate production going, and making sure that the masks are getting to where they are most needed.

    I think we'll probably have delivered enough that everybody down to care workers will have them by the time they get made in a factory in China and then shipped intercontentially. The thought's nice though.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think the 3D mask printing efforts have been amazing and laudable, but it's about time someone with a decent injection moulding plant weighed in on this. Injection moulding machines could turn out the parts that take minutes or hours to print in about 15 seconds. So kudos to Apple, and once a few plants are churning these out, .and lets turn the innovative energy of the makers to the next problem

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        It takes a fair while, and huge investment, to get injection moulding up and running.

        3D printing can cover that time gap quite well, but don't underestimate how long that will take.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          3d printing has done wonders - but UK manufacturers are already stepping up - for instance Ricoh in Telford are going to produce 40,000 a day. 3D printing needs a new challenge!

          1. John Robson Silver badge

            And that's the joy of 3D printing... it can flip to a new challenge - as requested by the medical community - very quickly.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Injection moulding machines are being used to produce some things but I think you might be surprised at the total overall productivity of the home grade 3D printing effort.

        The local makerspace groups have been at it in a systematic way for over two weeks picking people up as they go. People have been knocking these out at a rate of 5 a day (with very low end gear) to over 40 a day at the higher end. With a hundred people across the county knocking them out, at an absolute low that's about 500 produced a day, 3500 this week.

        While the group doesn't have a tally running because the yare being shipped off for collection then (being here i'm IT staff obviously and have worked in the local NHS trust) so I know that our low production estimate has produced more masks than the total number of NHS staff in our county.

        Which is sort of my point; at the moment the NHS have been done, the care staff in care homes have them (where they have appropriate cleaning measures for the masts in place) and people are talking about if production ought to be going to supermarket staff. By the time a few plants in China have produced a worthwhile number to be flown across the planet in another weeks time then who's going to be needing them?

        The situation might be different in America since I suspect there is going to be less local support for the "for profit" businesses that form their healthcare system.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "People have been knocking these out at a rate of 5 a day (with very low end gear) to over 40 a day at the higher end."

          I'm not convinced that 3D printing is even needed. One CDT teacher made 200 visors in a day from what looked like a look of fabric and sheet of acetate/bendy clear plastic. Crude, but does the job, and very quick to make.

          1. Nunyabiznes Silver badge

            A heavy duty vinyl cutter and a thin sheet of lexan (or similar) ftw.

          2. Peter2 Silver badge

            I'm not convinced that 3D printing is even needed. One CDT teacher made 200 visors in a day from what looked like a look of fabric and sheet of acetate/bendy clear plastic. Crude, but does the job, and very quick to make.

            Was that approved for NHS use?

            A particular 3D printed version is.

  12. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "should not be used in surgery"

    I think surgeons are intelligent enough to not need such a warning.

    There is a limit to what you need to include in your no-liability clauses, Apple.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: "should not be used in surgery"

      No, there isn't. Certainly not if they are used in the USA or other litigious cultures.

  13. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    "Apple Creates face shield"

    Dont these already exist?

    https://www.screwfix.com/c/safety-workwear/face-shields/cat850414

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      I don't think Apple's saying they invented it. More that they are fabricating and supplying them.

      Invention claims will come later ;)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A mask for everyone

    http://www.commitstrip.com/en/2020/03/23/a-mask-for-everyone/

  15. JDX Gold badge

    I assume they'll be selling a rather nice stand to rest it on when not in use, for $999.99

  16. BlackBerry ForEver

    Shields Up!!!

    Obviously it should be called iHACK. cough cough.

  17. BlackBerry ForEver

    Shields Up!!!

    Obviously it has to be called the iHACK (cough cough)

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    same shit design

    sorry folks, as someone (not in IT air-con) this is the same shit design that's been around for ever, it too close to face so every berth fogs it up, a simple ridge that directs your breath away from where you are trying to see makes such a difference, done the experience when my own hands were at risk and health and safety are stupid , 15 mill of pad on front of band helps and a ridge of blue tac about 20 mm above nose extending to 25 -30 mm at cheeks makes a huge difference to fogging and keeps H&S happy ( and hands undamaged).

    No evidence of any IThought here, designed in marketing dept.

    1. Monty Cantsin

      Re: same shit design

      I assume, given the current situation, this is going to be used in conjunction with some form of mouth/nose covering (N95 respirator, surgical mask), and so the dynamics of exhilation will be quite different from that coming from uncovered orifices.

  20. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
    Boffin

    3D Printers

    I'm part of an active Ozzie group of 3D printers helping to provide masks to GP and hospitals/medical facilities in each State.

    We have 'team leaders' who liaise with the appropriate folks in 'the system' who indicate which design is appropriate to their facility (there are many different designs) so we don't waste time printing stuff destined to the bin, like so many currently online.

    It's about putting useable PPE in the hands of those who need it most.

    Under the circumstances any way to increase PPE for staff is great and one would hope many of the large manufacturers around the place are able to contribute with useful kit.

    So kudos for apple (and Nike, too, I believe, as well as a few others around the globe). Every bit helps, I'm sure.

  21. MOV r0,r0
    Joke

    Typical Apple product - I can see right through it

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