This Philippine Startup Made Transparent Face Masks So People Can See Your Smile
Jelli Tech is a startup based in the Philippines. In 2020, founder Steve Tsao realized that even when things go back to normal, people would never really see each other’s faces because they would likely still be required to wear masks.
“If my daughters start going back to school, they won’t see their friends’ faces. Everyone would be hidden behind a mask, so we thought of creating something that allows you to see the smiles behind those masks,” Tsao tells Esquire Philippines.
According to the CDC, clear masks are recommended for people who rely on facial expressions to communicate properly. The Jelli Tech M1 is a transparent face mask equipped with advanced anti-fogging technology, so that even when you breathe or speak, the mask’s surface will never fog up.
The masks are made in China but are designed in Hong Kong and engineered in California by experts from Berkely and CalTech. They are made of silicon, polycarbonate, and nylon and offer comfort and breathability. The silicon part that makes contact with your skin is food-grade material, which makes it safe for children.
According to Jelli Tech executives, the anti-fogging feature of the masks were done so well, it even surpassed similar surface applications used in various industries. This feature was designed to prevent your respiration from misting up on your mask’s surface. But we took things to the next level.
When we tested the mask’s anti-fogging technology, we tried to fog it up with steam from a pot of boiling water. We do not advise repeating this experiment at home because the heat might damage parts of your mask.
Jelli M1 Anti-Fogging Technology
As you can see in the video, the mask remained clear and 100 percent transparent while exposed to steam. We also repeated the experiment on a couple of transparent plastic and glass items, but they didn’t have the same results.
Jelli Tech’s Kickstarter Campaign
Jelli Tech is one of the few success stories on Kickstarter, in which a startup was able to deliver a final product 30 days after the campaign. According to the company, they were able to get the interest of over 30,000 supporters when the crowdfunding was launched.
“The campaign ended on December 15, 2020. We were able to ship the products to all the customers 30 days later,” Tsao said. The orders for the initial round were 2,500 masks.
Jelli M1 Mask Filtration
According to Jelli Tech’s CEO, they really overperformed with the safety and quality of the product. The masks are registered with the FDA in the U.S., and passed stringent testing by independent laboratories. Each filter panel has triple filtration pads that you can replace.
Compared with the gold-standard N-95 masks that have a 95 percent filtration rate of bacteria, the Jelli M1 has a bacterial filtration efficiency of 97 percent.
We asked about the filters on the sides of the mask and whether these are considered one-way valves that are banned in the Philippines. Apparently, these are not one-way valves, but are double-filtration panels that filter the air you breathe in, and the air you breathe out. That means you are also keeping the people around you safe.
Discounted Price for the Philippines
Outside of the Philippines, the Jelli M1 masks cost $40 (roughly P2,000 to P2,500 depending on where you order), but for the Philippines, the company was able to significantly lower the price of the masks.
“Through the momentum that we had and by optimizing our supply chain the best that we could, we were able to bring down the price for the Philippines from P2,500 to just P1,200,” says Lys Tan, who is one of the key officers of the startup.
“We wanted to make it as accessible as possible to Filipinos,” she added.