Army researchers envision a fan embedded within the mask's filtration system that uses less power, is lighter and is far less bulky than conventional respirators.

Scientists at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) are developing a new protective mask for the U.S. Army which comes with a built-in fan in the mask’s filtration system.

According to the press release, this next-gen design is lighter, less bulky, uses less power and offers significant improvements which increase the overall comfortability and effectiveness of the mask.

Designed for chemical and biological protection, the mini-blower pulls air through a filtration system on the side of the mask and sweeps it across the nose cup, which allows for even flow across the face, ECBC said. The air valve shuts when the user exhales, diverting clean filtered air into the eye cavity of the mask, which over-pressurizes the face piece. In turn, this prevents any outside contaminates from entering the mask in the event of a break in the seal.

Work on the design is still being conducted at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, which operates under the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM). RDECOM is in charge of developing new technology for U.S. soldiers.

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