WHO WE ARE
Winters, Calif., 5/12/2020-In 2019 before any of us had heard of COVID-19, a scientific group in Northern California formed Modern Mammoth Technologies to provide a technological solution to problems which arose from the previous year’s fires.
Now, they’re launching a unique nasal respirator to provide more protection to more people-especially the frontline heroes.
Their team conceptualized and designed a nose-focused respirator after one of the founding members, Dr. Fournier, was exposed to wildfire smoke at the Camp Fire in 2018 while working as a volunteer veterinary responder.
Hero Mammoth is an air filtration device that can use a wide array of filters, including N95 and high MERV. This device is versatile, extraordinarily comfortable and most of all, it is unique in the fact that keeps your mouth free to communicate.
Hero Mammoth uses anatomically focused design to integrate a nasal dilator and detachable respirator. This focused design means less filter material is needed, resulting in a more ecofriendly and economical solution.
“Right now, face masks are being reinvented in many different ways. Hero isn’t designed to replace a face mask-its something which can be used with a mask for an extra level of protection, or on its own. It’s a whole different product” says Dr. Fournier
“When I’m working, I need to be able to communicate effectively with my team, grab a sip of coffee between patients, and be understood when speaking with clients. These things aren’t possible with traditional masks unless you remove them, and then you remove your protection.”
After the 2018 California wildfire season, the effect of breathing in smoke and other contaminants became evident. Lingering cough, fatigue, and headaches were all common complaints.
Dr’s Fournier and Garcia began to compile research on what needed to be done to protect themselves and their community. The data shows that wildfires, pollution in general, and poor air quality are becoming more common. With their backgrounds in medicine, public health, and data analysis they quickly recognized something new needed to be done.
“It was serendipity really. Previously, we had been working on a nasal dilator to help us breathe better while hiking and last year, while testing, we discovered the unique weight-bearing properties of this device. Now, it became our core technology and base to produce the nasal respirator”. said Dr. Garcia
Since early 2019, work on Hero nasal respirator and Silent Mammoth, the nose dilator, has plugged along. Then at the end of the year, tragedy in the form of SARS-COV2 struck.
Suddenly, there is a shortage of masks, respirators, filters-people are sewing their own masks or making them out of old socks and T shirts.
The new masks on the market used a huge amount of material, and that material was in short supply. Why not change the paradigm, and only put the filter material where its needed, where the air is actually being brought in?
Dr. Fournier, who also holds a degree in public health said “Part of the veterinarians' oath is to protect the public health, and we are scaling our efforts to bring this to production as soon as possible”.
“We knew we had something here which could help. We knew we needed other skills to bring it to life on a large enough scale to make an impact. So we reached out to family, friends, and colleagues. Our extended team has grown to include over 20 people, with a huge range of expertise. Everything from microbiologists and anatomists and physicians to engineers and designers and robotic programmers. Its amazing what can happen when the right people come together”, she says.
Dr Garcia agrees. “I want people to be able to go to work and feel protected. I want it to be affordable. I don’t want them to be constrained to having to buy expensive filters through us, and wait for it to get there. If they only have 1900 filters-they can use that! I want people to feel safe. We can’t go forward like this, really. We can’t wear masks all day, all the time.” Says Dr Garcia
The respirator is specially designed to be taken apart, cleaned, and reused. This lessens environmental impact, leading to less discard in the landfills.
The cartridges can be loaded with any filter material, and it only takes minimal skill with the scissors. Simply cut a small strip to fit and wrap the inner cartridge. The external clip protects the filter material so it lasts longer and you don’t have to touch it.
The facial gasket is soft foam with an internal stainless-steel structure and additional foam sealing strip around the edge. The user can bend the gasket and apply the sealing strip as best suits them, which leads to a better fit. Most users can tell if they have a gap and adjust the gasket to compensate.
This nose respirator also includes the option of a canister made of copper PLA filament and a copper mesh to protect the filter material. Copper has been shown through extensive research to have broad antimicrobial qualities.
When deciding how to move forward with their business, the team relied on Dr Fournier’s previous experience running several successful ventures and Dr Garcia’s extensive project building expertise. Both read every resource available, took online courses, and utilized networking/input opportunities offered by StartUp Sac and 1 Million Cups. They consulted with attorneys, finance professionals, and other small business owners for advice.
Thus far the project has been self-financed. To begin mass production (and mass protection!) they decided to reach out for help. Due to the current COVID-19 situation, many traditional avenues such as face to face networking aren’t possible. In these times, adaptability is key, which is why a Kickstarter campaign was decided on to get front line funding.
Modern Mammoth will be launching their product for presales on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter in early summer of 2020