Ford is kicking off the next phase of its #FinishStrong initiative to encourage Americans to pull together to protect themselves and each other. Apart from donating 120 million masks to communities in need across the country, including 25 million over the next five weeks, Ford has also received patent-pending approval for a new clear respirator that it expects to certify to N95 standards of virus elimination. It is also developing a fan and HVAC filter combination that could help reduce virus particle concentrations in enclosed spaces.

Ford has received patent-pending approval for an innovative new clear respirator it expects to certify to N95 standards of virus elimination. The transparent, low-cost, reusable respirators enable a full range of human expression, allowing people to better communicate with each other and aiding those with hearing impairments to help read lips that are today blocked by conventional cloth and filtered masks. The company says this is also a safe solution where visible human expression is preferred, such as teaching, air travel and sales.

Photo: Supplied

“One of the things that’s missing during the pandemic is the power of a smile,” said Jim Baumbick, Ford vice president, enterprise product line management and leader of Ford’s Project Apollo personal protective equipment manufacturing effort. “This clear respirator promises to improve interactions between neighbors, at the store and for those who have hearing impairments.”

Testing on the respirators to prove their effectiveness continues this winter, with expected availability sometime this spring.

Ford has also developed an air filtration kit that people can make at home or in school. The air filtration kit supplements a room’s existing filtration system to further help reduce the risk of COVID-19 virus particle concentrations. The kits are based upon scientific studies from academic and government research. The company plans to donate up to 20,000 air filtration kits to underserved communities.

Photo: Supplied

The filtration kit is comprised of an easy-to-assemble die-cut cardboard base, a 20-inch box fan, and a 20x20x4 air filter with a standard minimum efficiency reporting value of 13. The air filter is placed inside the folded base with the fan placed on top. The fan operates on high for maximum filtration, discharging clean air downward as it pulls in unfiltered air from above.

Ford had previously made a commitment to produce and donate 100 million U.S.-made medical-grade face masks to at-risk communities across the country. With the acquisition of another 20 million masks, Ford and Ford Fund have now increased their promise to 120 million donated masks by mid-2021.