The Mask Genius – Youth Created App

Want to learn more about different types of masks and their effectiveness? Check out the new Mask Genius app developed by San Mateo youth, Alison Soong, and brought to you by the San Mateo Health System. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic began to build steam in spring 2020, 15-year-old Alison Soong and her family discussed the need to get facial coverings. Alison researched everything she could learn about masks – types, effectiveness, etc. and read articles and industry reports on different materials used to make masks. As a budding programmer, she wondered if she could build an app that would let her share what she learned with her peers. The result was Mask Genius, now available for free on the iPhone App Store.

How it works

Pick the most effective  mask to wear in five different situations and beat your high score! Interactive animations help you to compare the filtration efficiency of three different masks: an N95 mask, a surgical mask, and a cotton mask. 

How to play

Users walk through realistic situations, such as buying restaurant takeout, attending a backyard barbeque with friends or working in an office building. In each situation, there are options to wear an N95 mask, a surgical mask, a cotton mask, or no mask. Users can gain points by putting themselves at lower risk for exposure.

Every situation has a “risk factor” which reflects the score of a round (higher risk means a lower score). The risk factor is calculated based on two pieces of information: what kind of mask is used and the situation’s general risk.

What you can learn 

– Ways to promote mask safety.

– Descriptions of the filtration efficiencies of N95, surgical, cotton, and hybrid masks.

– Information on their effectiveness against different sized particles (aerosol versus droplets).

– How to apply what you have learned to your daily life, and be an upstanding member of your community!


Apple Store

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