(770) 277-7097
medical powered air purifying respirator


AWARD: BRONZE  Industrial Design Excellence Award  1995  an annual product design competition sponsored by The Industrial Designers Society of America and Business Week Magazine  

Medical Air Purifying Respirator for the Healthcare Environment.  “An investigation into the problems associated with providing personal respiratory protection in healthcare and the development of a proposed design solution.” Prepared by Mr. Willis Whiteside  – Masters Student (’93-’95)  Georgia Institute of Technology  (Georgia Tech) – School of Industrial Design

This Industrial Design – product development masters thesis design project involved development of a lightweight, battery powered, positive pressure, loose fitting respirator, that uses a high-efficiency particulate air filter. TB is an airborne disease which can spread through the air by coughing or sneezing viable tuberculin bacilli which become aerosolized as droplets and may remain airborne for hours. Healthcare workers who work in close proximity are exposed to infectious TB. Providing medical air purifying respirator protection from airborne infectious disease, such as TB is a continuing serious and growing problem. The threat of a TB epidemic has been intensified by the mutation of strains of multidrug-resistant TB which does not respond to current drug treatment therapies, resulting in a 60% cure rate.1. NIOSH had made proposals for requires use of a full powered (battery) air purifying respirator (PAPR), equipped with an high efficiency particulate air (HEPA filter , recommended over a negative pressure dust or fume masks. The issue was those mask typically meant for mining, industrial and fire respiratory protection were big and black and bulky, including giving the appearance of a firefighter versus a caretaker of someone who is dying.

The real world problem exists in that the alternative protection devices including paper and HEPA filter masks, although meeting most technical requirements, fail to address important safety, comfort, occupational issues related to the care of infectious TB patients. The thesis reviewed the problems associated with controlling the spread of TB and other airborne diseases to develop a better healthcare provider solution.

The final product design semantic appearance is symbolic of the angelic “halo” and considers the physical, human factors, psychological and social aspects of the patient-caretaker relationship.   It included a 105 page written thesis including supervision by 3 thesis advisors.

  1.  U.S. Department of heath Services, Centers for Disease Control. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. Atlanta, GA.  NIOSH Recommended guidelines for personal Respiratory Protection of Workers in Healthcare facilities Potentially Exposed to Tuberculosis. September 1992 pg 13.


Credits / Gratitude:

Mr. William (Bill) Bullock,  Senior Advisor
(GT Department Head,  Industrial Design Department)

Mr. Len D. Singer, Advisor
(GT  Professor I.D. Department)

Mr. David I. Jacobi,  Advisor
(GT  Masters – Human Factors Department)

Mr. Paul Hiltman, Technical Advisor
(ISI Corporation, Lawrenceville GA)

Mrs. Debbie Whiteside

Ms. Linda Forman

Mr. Mel Hutto

Mrs. Carolina Gill,  Mock-Up Photography Model

Mr. Doug Purvis, Purvis Photography


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