Project Description

Face Mask Design to Mitigate Facial Expression Occlusion

Çağlar Genç, Ashley Colley, Markus Löchtefeld, Jonna Häkkilä

ISWC ’20: Proceedings of the 2020 International Symposium on Wearable Computers,

The COVID-19 pandemic dictated that wearing face masks during public interactions was the new norm across much of the globe. As the masks naturally occlude part of the wearer’s face, the part of communication that occurs through facial expressions is lost and could reduce acceptance of mask wear. To address the issue, we created 2 face mask prototypes, incorporating simple expressive display elements and evaluated them in a user study. Aiming to explore the potential for low-cost solutions, suitable for large-scale deployment, our concepts utilized bi-state electrochromic displays. One concept Mouthy Mask aimed to reproduce the image of the wearer’s mouth, whilst the Smiley Mask was symbolic in nature. The smart face masks were considered useful in public contexts to support short socially-expected rituals. Generally, a visualization directly representing the wearer’s mouth was preferred to an emoji-style visualization. As a contribution, our work presents a stepping stone towards productizable solutions for smart face masks that potentially increase the acceptability of face mask wear in public.

Genç, Ç., Colley, A., Löchtefeld, M., & Häkkilä, J. (2020, September). Face mask design to mitigate facial expression occlusion. In Proceedings of the 2020 International Symposium on Wearable Computers (pp. 40-44).