The Lockdown due to COVID-19 was definitely a time for most people to conceive for the future. Some of these conceptions will be delivered in 9 months. However, it took Ifedayo Ojo approximately 9 weeks from conceiving this novel idea till delivery. When the Lockdown was eased in May of 2020, Ifedayo discovered that there was a growing habit of people preferring to wear a face shield alone without a nose mask. Some of their reasons included fashion, comfort, and ability to make facial expressions. No sooner than the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared that the pandemic was potentially airborne, Ifedayo challenged himself to design a functional hybrid facemask-face shield unit that addressed a lot of the concerns that discouraged the mask-wearing behaviour.
He had designed three concepts of the mask when he came across the XPRIZE Next-Gen challenge. With excitement, he latched onto it because this was his preparation meeting opportunity.
He immediately teamed up with Samuel Akinola who could not be in school because of recurring industrial action by Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Nigeria. Together they formed the Naija Force as they worked from Ifedayo’s room studio to develop their Next-Gen Mask challenge concept. The ASUU strike afforded the duo enough time as they worked day and night.
Research centres including Schools were shut, shops were locked, resources were limited, and movement was restricted at a time, yet they improvised to achieve required results.
Their mission was clear – to let the world know the potentials of the average Nigerian youth. For them it was more than just developing a product for the contest, it was a movement as part of a revolution for the hope of a better country and the world at large.
They worked on developing a mask that could help reduce the risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus while enabling people live life unrestrictedly even if it meant protesting bad leadership and keeping safe.
By the dint of the ingenuity of the Naija Force Next-Gen Mask, the world can almost return to normal lives with sufficient protection from the dreaded pandemic that rewrote several “Visions 2020.”
The mask features a transparent unibody silicone shell that is reusable and easy to clean with mild soap and water. A Replaceable electrostatically charged mepore filter sandwiched between non-woven fabric for enhanced protection and breathability and a pair of changeable colourful adjustable straps that is stretchable and made from cotton. This mask design brilliantly addresses many of the barriers to the mask-wearing culture which includes:
This mask is made to be highly breathable through the tiny perforated holes at the base covered by the filters with low airflow resistance. This mask enough space around the mouth and nose to improve air circulation.
The anti-fog coating of the internal surface of the silicone inhibits fogging. The malleable flange also ensures secure fit on the nose cap which prevents warm air from escaping through the top of the nose to prevent fogging of glasses.
This mask is made from transparent silicone rubber that allows visibility of expressions.
Complex manufacturing process affects the shelf price of a product. This is why have ensured that the manufacturability of this product is simple enough. Hence 95% of our mask features a unibody facepiece that will be made from a single industrial manufacturing process. This will ensure that the mask is affordable.
The mask is made to be lightweight. Bio-compatible thin sheet of medical-grade silicone also ensures it does not hurt or discomfort the wearer over a protracted period.
The mask features a soft malleable flange that can be conformed to the shape of the wearer’s nose. This mask is not intended to be a one-fit-all kind but comes in different sizes to fit unique facial contours and forms. The mask is further equipped with adjustable straps that can be converted from an ear strap to headband in seconds, without need for any extra accessory.
Not being able to exercise with face masks is as a result of a combination of problems including breathability, fit and comfort which our mask addresses effectively.
The mask features an openable drinking inlet through which straws can be inserted for drinking. This ensures minimal contact to the bare face.
Naija Force X-factor of style is adjustable straps that comes in different colours to suit the wearer’s style
We explored options through traditional sketching, digital illustration and CAD modelling.
Ifedayo Ojo, the Team Lead for Naija Force has always had interest in design and innovation right from a very young age.
Growing up, he had an exceptional eye for art and a fascination for understanding how things work. Though his creative expressions of art were ahead of his age, he didn’t want to just be an artist. He wanted to solve problems and build functional solutions.
To achieve this, he sought a University and the course of study that could help him combine those two attributes. He would later go on to study Industrial Design in the Federal University of Technology (FUTA) in Akure, Ondo State, during which he won several awards and recognitions.
Some of the prestigious awards include; Behance Gold Coin Award for innovative footwear design project, Runner-up for BBM Stickamania contest and Best graduating Student in Design. His core values are hard work, humility and teamwork.
When he is not thinking of what to innovate or design, you will probably find him writing or working-out. He believes if he wasn’t a creative designer, he would have been a footballer. He also enjoys hanging out and having a good laugh with friends.
He currently works as a creative and multimedia designer and is planning to switch fully into industrial product design.
Samuel Akinola has been always wanted to do big things. To achieve his dreams, he applied to study architecture in the Federal University of Technology (FUTA) in Akure, Ondo State, but some how found himself in the Industrial Design department.
In his early days in the institution, he met with Ifedayo who mentors him in the design space. In his quest to solve problems he encountered user experience as a process of design and he has grown so well in the field.
As a User-experience designer, he worked on redesigning the school’s student portal.
His core values are hard work,challenge and teamwork.
He also enjoys dancing or talking about dance. He also enjoys hanging out and trying new foods with friends.
He is currently a final year student and a freelance digital product designer.
He hopes to leverage on exposure from this project to get better opportunities.
With the right blend of first degree in Industrial Design, and acquiring M.Sc in Management, presently pursing an MBA degree in Strategic Project Management in the UK.
I’ve always been motivated to manage teams attain their best possible goals in a more strategic way, delivering results to their best abilities.
It brings joy to my heart that I’m opportune to manage this great team and put my management skills to test.
For updates on the product and team