Developing a Powered Air Purifying Respirator During the COVID-19 Crisis

As part of our commitment to our community, we are working on the development of a PAPR (Powered Air Purifying Respirator) for healthcare workers on the front lines of the crisis.

We know that this concept can be modified in many ways, including the use of a full-face mask. In the wake of COVID-19, speed is critical. We wanted to come up with a proof-of-concept quickly (we targeted less than 1 day) so that we could get feedback and move forward.

Project Requirements:
(1) Protection from the virus entering nose or mouth. (Eyes would be protected by separate goggles.)
(2) You must be able to sanitize any parts that are not disposable.
(3) Existing parts must be readily available off-the-shelf.
(4) Non-existing parts must be easily and quickly mass manufactured (crowd manufacturing, pattern +bridge manufacturing, etc.)
(5) Cost-conscious.

We had a 3M 07193 respirator in the shop, so that’s what we decided to use for the proof-of-concept. We reviewed documentation on disinfecting the mask and figured it would satisfy #2 above.

Early prototype parts included:
(1) 1” split electrical conduit
(2) PVC fittings
(3) Duct tape for sealing conduit and fittings
(4) Mattress inflation pump

To learn more about this PAPR, and to see the prototype, check out the video below. Stay tuned to follow this product development project. 


Our hearts go out to all those impacted by COVID-19. Our thoughts and prayers are with those diagnosed with the virus, and their family and friends. We empathize with those whose jobs and schools have been impacted and all those who are experiencing personal challenges during this time. Our focus is, as always, on the health and safety of our employees, clients, and communities.