The Oricool facemask is currently part of an ongoing exhibition entitled Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics at the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt design museum in New York.
The project is the work of artist/designer, Jiangmei Wu, associate professor in the Eskanzi School of Art and Design at Indiana University Bloomington. Paul Acito, an Indiana University Kelley School Alumnus and global executive, mentored and advised Jiangmei on her new product commercialization pursues.
Jiangmei and Paul connected after learning of each other's Indiana University affiliations and their shared passion for applying origami and computational design to real-world problems.
As the critical issue of respiratory health arose during the COVID-19 pandemic, it became apparent that effective and aesthetically agreeable facemasks would be needed in greater supply to meet unprecedented demand.
The Oricool facemask project has evolved through multiple iterations and virtual interactions into a product that is centered on the ideas of adjustability and flexibility. See more about how Oricool facemasks work here.
Oricool facemask was based on Jiangmei's original DIY origami facemask. design. She made the mask design available in the early spring of 2020 when she learned about the Conoravirus spread in China through her relatives in Hongkong and mainland China. Jiangmei's primary research and artistic interest is origami-inspired paper folding. She applied her knowledge in origami to devise a DIY no-sew facemask that is very easy to make and at the same time, effective. Her DIY design was shared and made by the general public who were looking for effective PPE during a time when PPE was awareness was just beginning.
Her DIY facemask video has been viewed more than 240,000 times. The earliest iterations of the design were published by Indiana University Research and by various national and local news media including National Geographic, the New York Times, The Herald-Times, and Indianapolis Monthly.
The Oricool facemask project is supported by the Indiana University Innovation & Commercialization Office, College of Arts and Humanities Institute, and Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design. The project received a generous donation from Meltblown Technologies after Jiangmei reached out to its president Derek Yurgaitis. Jiangmei would also like to say a special thank you to the following individuals and companies she has worked with on this project: professor David Crandall and his students who explored face landmark measurements using computer vision technologies; Oliver Rübener who helped design the mobile app interface; Emma Zhang who helped with the color selection; Ryan Furr who helped produce the How-to videos; IU graduate student Hiroko Hanamura who graciously modeled for the facemask and helped with the production; IU Ph. D. student Zaiqiao Ye who explored the initial mobile solutions; and finally, IU students Jack Boardman and former student Abdelraheem Al-Najjar who participated in the production.