DENVILLE, NJ -- Denville’s Mark Schey has devised a solution to the nationwide mask shortage and the need for cost effective masks worldwide in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Schey, a patented inventor and entrepreneur, has designed a low-cost, reusable adapter for snorkeling equipment that can be used by first responders and health care professionals.

Using his home office three-dimensional printer, Schey engineered a full-face snorkeling mask to act as personal protective equipment (PPE). The product, called SnorkPPE, is a specialized, plastic, breathing adapter that replaces the removable, standard snorkel on a full-face snorkel mask. The adapter is easily fitted by the user with any piece of small, rectangular three-ply surgical mask material, which serves as a breathable filter and barrier for airborne liquid viral particles.

“Any droplets ejected from a COVID-19 patient are less likely to hit the surgical mask material, because the breathing adapter with mask material face backwards.” explained Schey.

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Moreover, “Full-face snorkel masks tap a separate supply chain,” continued Schey. “No one is hoarding this item and it doesn’t need as large a filter, so it can turn one surgical mask into four. It’s all about using our limited resources in the best way.”

Schey plans to create a library of interchangeable parts for respirators, snorkel masks and filters. These adapters and modifications could be printed on demand and used to protect medical professionals when supplies are low.

Schey has publicly released his prototype and full instructions at http://www.snorkppe.com/ for users to assemble their own SnorkPPE. Although Schey’s designs are open sourced and non-commercialized, he welcomes any further suggestions to vary and advance the adapter, as fellow inventive enthusiasts see fit.

“Any change made to the original design must in turn be made accessible to the public. This way the cycle of inspiration and evolution can continue. I'm not the only one. There's an amazing community of designers doing projects similar to this one. This isn't about making money. It's about protecting our first responders and medical professionals when they need it most,” insisted Schey.

“After hearing the concerns of many of my friends who are doctors, nurses and EMTs, I sought to create a solution using more readily available parts. If this project saves a single life, it's worth it,” Schey said of his original motivation for creating the emergency device.

Emergency medical technician, Allyson Handabaka, and her coworker were the first to test the SnorkPPE while on the job in Morris County.

“This system cuts down PPE to just one piece,” remarked Handabaka. “It’s an advantage to have over the use of both a (surgical) mask and goggles, and my peripheral vision was totally unobstructed when I had it on. I cleaned it with an antiseptic wipe, cut a new piece of (surgical) mask for the filter, and I was ready to go. This could be a single person’s mask through the duration of the outbreak,” she exclaimed.

Further remarking on her new safety gear, “Essentially, it seems very similar to what firefighters wear. I can breathe easily, and the mask doesn’t fog up. I am amazed that no one in the medical field has thought of this. Coworkers are asking me where I got it, because with our limited supplies, we need to think ‘outside the box’ as much as we can right now,” Handabaka conveyed.

The SnorkPPE is gaining traction in the medical community. Requests from physicians are trending on social media. 

“To be clear, this isn’t for the general public,” Schey stressed, “but for doctors and other professionals who understand the type of PPE they need to do their job safely.”

Schey’s location, about 30 miles from the coronavirus epicenter in New York City, allows citywide health care workers to benefit immediately from the SnorkPPE. With everyone home due to social distancing, Schey believes it is the perfect time to call upon fellow citizens with 3D printers to help the cause by increasing the SnorkPPE supply. He along with his business partner, George Cassotis of Bridgewater, New Jersey, are donating 20 snorkel masks with adapters to those in need to stimulate local accessibility. 

“This is a difficult time. I think it's important for all of us to work together for the greater good. We might not all have a 3D printer, but I believe every one of us can do something to help us get through this,” shared Schey, speaking clearly through his SnorkPPE.

 

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