Sam WhymanProduct Design BSc
Frustration and even anger can occur whilst using a respirator that muffles or distorts speech excessively. Fire fighters have been known to pull their respirator face-piece away from their face before calling out to one another and hazardous waste workers have indicated that the inability to 'hear and be heard' is one of the most negative aspects of respirator use. In collaboration with Avon Protection, this project focuses around the development of a sub-assembly within a full-face respirator designed to improve speech communication without the need for electronic amplification. Based on understanding where current respirators fail to transmit specific frequencies used in speech, iterative technologies were implemented into a host respirator and developed using a bespoke test method to arrive at an important 30% improvement. In order to validate the design, an industry-recognised speech intelligibility test highlighted improvements in perception of words featuring higher frequency components, as described by the development test. The project was delivered as a proving principal prototype and sub-assembly showing manufacturing options and limitations with an accompanying render showing integration with Avon's brand heritage, taking influence from Avon's iconic FM12 and S10 respirators.