ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A University of New Mexico graduate is using his downtime during the pandemic to come up with new ways more people can easily cover their faces without putting on a traditional mask. It is a simple way to follow the governor’s mask mandate without ever wearing one. UNM mechanical engineering graduate Kurt Schramm is the founder of the new invention FasT-Mask.
“There’s a large group of people who are just trying to hold their shirt going into stores, and the idea kind of popped into my head,” Schramm said. Using a 3D printer, Schramm designed a plastic mold that people can fasten to their shirts and pull over their noses, turning any t-shirt into a cloth covering. “It does not feel nearly as restrictive when it comes to breathing,” Schramm said.
He argues that it is as effective as a regular mask. In a video, he demonstrates that it stays secure even after doing a backflip. Plus, he said it is easy to carry and clean. “Disposable, single-use masks causes a lot of waste,” Schramm said. “Something like this is easy to clean after using so you can essentially use the product until it breaks down.”
Some around town are skeptical. “I think it just looks kind of silly,” Albuquerque resident Tim Riley said. “Why would you want to put a nose clip over your mouth when you could just put a mask over your nose and mouth?”
However, others said they like the idea. “I think it’s really cool,” Albuquerque resident Elena Garcia said. “I think its a really good invention, especially with everything going on right now. It would be really good to have instead of a whole mask. I would definitely buy it.”
Schramm said the FasT-Masks just became available a few weeks ago, and they have had five orders so far. “People like to have alternatives,” Schramm said. “There is nothing wrong with providing an alternative to masks.”