Face Mask Design to Mitigate Facial Expression Occlusion

Çaglar Genç, Ashley Colley, Markus Löchtefeld, Jonna Häkkilä

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
168 Downloads (Pure)


The COVID-19 pandemic dictated that wearing face masks during public interactions was the new norm across much of the globe. As the masks naturally occlude part of the wearer's face, the part of communication that occurs through facial expressions is lost, and could reduce acceptance of mask wear. To address the issue, we created 2 face mask prototypes, incorporating simple expressive display elements and evaluated them in a user study. Aiming to explore the potential for low-cost solutions, suitable for large-scale deployment, our concepts utilized bi-state electrochromic displays. One concept Mouthy Mask aimed to reproduce the image of the wearer's mouth, whilst the Smiley Mask was symbolic in nature. The smart face masks were considered useful in public contexts to support short socially expected rituals. Generally a visualization directly representing the wearer's mouth was preferred to an emoji style visualization. As a contribution, our work presents a stepping stone towards productizable solutions for smart face masks that potentially increase the acceptability of face mask wear in public.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2020 International Symposium on Wearable Computers
Number of pages5
Place of PublicationNew York, NY, USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date2020
ISBN (Print)9781450380775
ISBN (Electronic)9781450380775
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventInternational Symposium on Wearable Computers - Online
Duration: 12 Sep 202017 Sep 2020
Conference number: 24


ConferenceInternational Symposium on Wearable Computers
SeriesISWC '20


  • Covid-19
  • electrochromic display
  • face mask
  • Social acceptance
  • wearable display

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