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Extended Comfort

Scott Karch mask extenders

Extended Comfort

Masks are one of the most visible changes to our daily lives that COVID-19 has brought upon us.

While the masks that civilians typically wear are comfortable enough for jaunts to the grocery store, the ear straps of the N95 and medical-grade masks that essential healthcare workers wear for upwards of 12 hours can become extremely uncomfortable to wear. The straps create friction against the skin above and behind the ear and can even lead to painful sores.

Step-in super Spartan, Scott Karch, ’91, a College of Agriculture and Natural Resources graduate who took it upon himself to use his 3D printing setup to produce mask extenders. Karch’s “ear-savers” create a comfortable fit for medical masks by pulling the mask straps away from behind the mask wearer’s ears.

Karch reached out to the Illinois Mask Makers Group and donated his creations, which eventually made their way to the Navajo First Responders.

Ever the tinkerer, Karch has improved his mask extender design, and with in-kind donations, expanded his at-home operation to three 3D printers.

Talk about #SpartansWill.

As we say goodbye to one of the most challenging years many of us will remember for years to come, we continue to be amazed at the ingenuity and perseverance of Spartan nation. What did this year look like for you? Share how you or a Spartan you know made a difference — big or small — in the face of extraordinary challenges in 2020 by using #SpartansWill on your preferred social media platform.

Author: Alex Gillespie, '17

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