The Covid Times came crashing without any prior intimation. There was very little time to respond to the sudden lockdown that happened within a spur of the moment. Such situations are rare, but this was unprecedented!! To counter this pandemic, the design team at Desmania, with mentoring from founders and senior design managers, came out with a plethora of ideas, ranging from PPE, sanitisation, e-com products, low-cost ventilators, etc. Our belief was further endorsed on the infinite and multi-dimensional nature of design.
AARMR, the Full Face Mask, the most innovative catch of the hackathon was taken up to evolve into a prized product. A simple, affordable mask that has 3 times efficacy of the normal mask. Firstly, it covers the entire face so there is no risk of touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Secondly, it stands on the sustainability tenet of being re-usable and durable. It provides clear vision to the wearer because of the low refractive index of acrylic. This is the most innovative mask for the common man as well as for the front line warriors like doctors, policemen, delivery boys, etc.
“AARMR is being tested with the doctors, work force, delivery boys and has also been tried with the police force. They have all loved the product and are pushing for early deployment. The design evolution is continuous and so is the refinement to design. Desmania plans to ramp up the production by the end of June, 2020 to meet the massive requirements from across the globe” said Anuj Prasad, Co-founder & CEO of Desmania.
The design philosophy behind this mask is a thoughtful integration of Goggles, Face Shield and N95 Mask. The result is a true innovation that can reach the masses and be a first shield of protection in the covid times. Design solves the problem of fogging and heavy breathing, through innovative features.
There is an inherent modularity developed in the product. This helps in customising the mask for different user segments with unique needs. The modular design also helps in creating a width along the price points, in order to make them affordable.
Another problem, which the designers addressed through this design is the sustainability aspect of masks. In the present scenario, all the masks are disposable and are creating huge challenges for waste management and recycling. AARMR, the Full Face Mask is durable! It can be washed or sanitised with soap water and can be used for life. The filter in most of the product categories is also washable and has a permutations of Nano, Surgical and N95.
“We, at Desmania, are designers who live their life in the elixir of creations, product design essentially, but everything between a jar and car! With 25 glorious years of success behind us and being among the top 3 design companies, this sudden blow could not deter us. Rather it gave us an opportunity to catalyse our creative juices. So, even before the Lockdown 1.0 was announced, we had a meeting with the core team, and reaction to Covid was a mindful response: to start an internal Hackathon to protect our frontline workers!
How can design be the saviour to this catastrophe? Here was an opportunity to switch-on our design thinking brains, with an agility of an antelope, and start churning ideas. It was overwhelming to get some real crazy and out of the box ideation, covering a large band of products. We shortlisted a few that could be developed in-house and rest were published on social media as open-source Ideation. After all, as designers we have to shoulder the social responsibility and this was the perfect time to share our creative minds” adds Prasad.
The real challenge was to be agile in highly restricted lockdown conditions. The work had to be done with several constraints of resources, materials and infra. The self-motivated team from Desmania could make it happen.
“The development journey of AARMR masks has been very exciting for us. On 24th March 2020, the first lockdown was announced in India and on 26th March we as a company decided to contribute in the fight against this Global Pandemic. On 6th April we were ready with our prototype of AARMR masks. Amidst lockdown, using only in-house resources, a team of 3 people converted a vague idea into a usable prototype in just two weeks. At the outset, we knew that the journey will not be easy and we have to fail many times to succeed. The only way to steer through this was to set the right process and be agile on actions. We are now setting up a global sales network for these masks and we are moving to our second phase of ramping up the production. This is a true example of agile thought, agile prototyping and agile launch! Our evolved design thinking and doing practice has helped us in this” said Saurabh Singh, Associate Director, Desmania.
In the series of innovations for quality medical care at affordable prices, Desmania has at least 5 more products lined up that will contribute in a big way to covid protection, for doctors, health workers and the large generic work force.