Production Begins on First FDA-Registered UV-Sterilizing Clear Mask

LEAF "smart mask" has reached almost $4 Million in backing on Indiegogo. Delivery is expected in the coming weeks.

Abram Bailey, AuD

Doctor of Audiology

Updated 29 August 2020

Potential scam alert! Many are concerned that this crowdfunding campaign is fraudulent. Please do your due diligence if you're considering contributing. Concerns can be found in the comments of the Indiegogo page and on reddit.

In May, Redcliffe Healthcare launched a crowdfunding campaign promising the world’s first “FDA-registered, clear, UV-C sterilizing smart mask.” In just over two months, the campaign has raised over $3.8M USD from over 22,000 backers in 125 countries.

Leaf Smart Mask

Alex Lightman, Readcliffe Healthcare CTO, shows off an early production version of the LEAF clear mask.

Clear masks for COVID times

With masks becoming commonplace in 2020, those suffering from hearing loss have found themselves in a new world of isolation. Traditional masks muffle sound, making it harder to hear high-pitch consonants, and making lipreading impossible. And while clear masks aren’t a complete solution (muffled sound is still an issue), they do help overcome the lipreading issue by providing a clear view of the mouth. For that reason, clear masks have caught on like wildfire for the hearing loss community, and more and more companies are entering the market with novel solutions.

How is LEAF different from other clear masks?

The Communicator™ mask is an FDA-approved clear mask, and has been on the market for over two years. And the ClearMask™ is a face-shield-like disposable clear mask. So what’s new here?

Other Clear Masks

Communicator™ mask left. ClearMask™ right.

The LEAF mask has a lot in common with other currently-available clear masks (pictured above). Modern clear masks all meet the accessibility needs of those with hearing loss by offering a clear mouth window, and most include anti-fog coating to keep the window clear. However, the LEAF mask introduces a number of key innovations when compared to other currently-available clear masks.

  • Replaceable H99+ HEPA-carbon filters
  • “Automatic” UV-C sterilization for re-usability through onboard LEDs
  • Anti-microbial coating
  • Active ventilation through sensors and dual fans
Leaf Mask Basics 2 006

Overview of the parts inside the LEAF Pro mask.

Replaceable H99+ HEPA-carbon filters

According to the crowdfunding page, the replaceable HEPA-Carbon filters filter out 99.99% of air particles, as small as 0.3 microns. This would put the LEAF mask well above the competition in terms of particle filtration, and with a silicone mask body, achieving a tight seal should be easier. Redcliffe also assures backers that breathing should be easier than a typical N90 mask due to a larger filter surface area. Redcliffe suggests replacing the filters at least once per month.

“Automatic” UV-C sterilization

Available in the LEAF UV and Pro models, onboard LED lights provide active UV-C sterilization powered by a rechargeable battery that delivers 50 UV-C “sterilization flashes.” Self-cleaning occurs when the mask is taken off and rested on a stationary surface for 10 seconds.

Anti-microbial coating

Redcliffe claims that the anti-microbial nano-coating on the outside of the mask is permanent (survives regular washes) and is capable of destroying 99.99% of microbes. Unfortunately, there is no mention of COVID-19 on the crowdfunding page.

Active ventilation through sensors and dual fans

Available only in the Pro version, the LEAF mask will use an onboard computer to actively monitor air quality (humidity, dust, CO2, etc) inside and outside the mask. Redcliffe claims that the mask will use two fans to maintain “real time concurrence” between these measured parameters inside and outside the mask. And the LEAF Pro makes data about air quality available to the user through a companion smartphone app.

Where to buy

We spoke with Redcliffe CEO Lalit Verma earlier today and he assured us that the mask would ship to early backers within the “next few weeks.” You can learn more about their crowdfunding campaign and become a backer on Indiegogo.