At a time when protective masks are in short supply, Sum Studio set out to create an alternative and sustainable mask prototype made out of bacterial cellulose—a by-product of a bacteria called xylinum acetobacter. The mask can be grown using a few kitchen staples like water, tea, sugar, and a small sample of the common bacteria, which can be sourced from something like unflavored kombucha.
The process of growing a mask takes a few weeks and it can be treated to make it even more comfortable to wear. Unlike many masks, the organic material is translucent, which means that the wearer's mouth can be seen through the design.
The prototype Xylinum mask has not been tested for its protective properties but it offers an inventive and sustainable way to think about the future of PPE production.
Image Credit: Sum Studio