ALICE MIN SOO CHUN
As a little girl growing up in Seoul, Korea and then upstate New York, always creative, fascinated by design, structure and forms, Alice always had a calling to help the underserved and help make lives better. After seeing the sinister wounds on doctors faces due to conventional masks, then seeing our humanity compromised with a faceless and covered population, she knew this problem could be solved by using new materials and design thinking. During lockdown she turned her kitchen into a lab and hand made the first prototypes of the SEEUS95 mask. Then she launched a Kickstarter campaign with tremendous success, raising over $400,000 in one month.
With emerging trends in material technology resulting in smarter, lighter, faster, sustainable fabrication, Alice started to sew solar panels to fabric as early experiments for harnessing solar energy with softer, malleable material. She became focused on solar technology and finding ways to create clean energy solutions upon learning her son Quinn was diagnosed with asthma.
While teaching as a Professor in Architecture and Material Technology at Columbia University, fueled by her passion for helping the underserved, Alice invented the world’s only self-inflatable, portable solar light, eliminating the need for a mouth nozzle. She went on to create Solight Design a company with a social mission to help communities living in regions without power. She went on to win numerous awards including the US Patent Award for Humanity and her products have been exhibited at MOMA, the Modern Museum of Art in New York City. In 2019 she was featured in Secretary Hilary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton's book, "The Book of Gutsy Women" Now with the SEEUS95 mask, she continues to fight for better design solutions for making lives better by making us seen and safe.
History of the Face Mask
Ok guys, this picture is from 1910 when the first face masks were made from moven clotth to protect doctors from smells, look familiar? The general face mask design hasn't changed for over 100 years.
Photo: courtesy University of Cambridge/Centre for Reasearch in the Arts Humanities and Social Sciences (CRASSH, The University of Cambridge). The University of HongKong Libraries
Then in 1959
Sara Turbull was hired by 3M to design with a new air spun polymer non-woven PET material. She used a bra as inspiration for her mask and created the first 3M single-use N95 dust respirator. Since then, her original design has remained largely the same.
The US and the rest of the world experienced a surge in the demand for face masks as the Coronavirus pandemic took hold. Suddenly, masks were being sold everywhere, from gas stations to clothing stores. But not all masks are created equal. Some are too thin, uncomfortable, or hard to wear, and worst of all, some are just downright ineffective. In addition, healthcare workers are getting rashes and face dents from wearing masks for hours on end.
2020 Lock Down
As the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic took hold in NYC, our founder Alice noticed two problems: there was an extremely limited supply of effective, comfortable masks and families were no longer able to see the expressions of those around them. She, and many others, felt as though they were losing their humanity by wearing a mask every day. As an inventor and designer she knew there was a better solution out there. Alice began prototyping a clear silicone mask right in her kitchen and thus, the SEEUS95 mask was born.
After months of development and testing from friends and family, SEEUS95 launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise capital and begin production. The campaign raises over $400,00 USD by 3,978 backers and quickly goes viral. With the success of the campaign, it becomes clear that there is a deep need for a mask that provides top-notch protection while also giving people a chance to see one another’s expressions.
The SEEUS95 introduced to the public market, clinical trials with hospitals and medical schools giving healthcare providers, and essential workers access allowing them to reclaim their humanity and see each other’s smiles again.