ENGS21 Project: Breathable Buff
Dartmouth introduces engineering through a design project that integrates fields involving biology, design, mathematics, and economics. From the initial concept, to designing experiments, testing prototypes, and creating a sales plan, this project gives me insight into the real-life processes of engineering.
Our project, "Breathable Buff," received the Phillip R. Jackson Award for engineering, which is awarded to the group with best overall performance in consideration of their project's societal importance, user-centric design, functionality, documentation, holistic approach to the engineering design process, and consistent outstanding performance on both written and oral milestones. My group members, Carly Tymm, Ruthie Nordhoff, Samuel Gochman, and Madeline Genereux were invaluable.
The theme for this project was "Improving Everyday Life in the Winter." On a daily basis, asthmatics have a hard enough time to breathe, and the cold and dry winter conditions in New Hampshire exacerbate asthmatic symptoms. While most students can remain indoors or bundled up, winter athletes don't share that luxury, which is why we created the Breathable Buff, a face mask that retains heat and moisture to alleviate asthmatic symptoms for winter asthmatic athletes.
The premise for our design was the nose of a camel. Camel noses have hygroscopic properties and expansive surface area, which allows them to both retain moisture in arid environments, as well as humidify cold air at night. Our design called for materials that could mimic this hygroscopic property, while remaining breathable.
These images show various materials testing and progression of iterations based on user feedback. Using different materials, we also create the idea of replaceable filters that could be better suited for different winter conditions.
We collected both qualitative and quantitative feedback from our users to determine areas of improvement. These categories ranged from comfort, breathability, and aesthetics, to measurements in temperature, humidity, and airflow.
Our final product, featuring interchangeable filters that retain humidity and heat, while elevated off the face to prevent clamminess.