Custom Heat Therapy Masks

Avisly is a therapeutic heating face mask for people with trigeminal neuralgia(TNG) - a condition which causes chronic and / or acute pain in areas of the face. I started this project because my mother, Mia, developed trigeminal neuralgia, and was faced with no existing medical resources to help her manage her pain without relying on mind-numbing painkillers.

Being an engineer herself, by the time I started this project Mia had already created many of her own solutions: 

Because of the chronic nature of TNG pain, Mia needs to wear a mask for large parts of the day, meaning she is often wearing one in public. The masks sometimes make her a target for unwanted glares or social discomfort.

My goal with Avisly was to make a mask that would be almost invisible.

Using 3D scanning and CNC milling, I created a custom mold on which to thermoform masks, which allowed us to use clear materials (PETG). I used cuprothal wire as a heating element and secured it by thermoforming a second time over the wires.

Milling out the mold:

After a lot of sanding, priming, and sanding and priming again, the mold was ready for thermoforming:

Beyond the custom mask and its integrated heating coil, Avisly also needed a system for powering and controlling the heat output of the coils. I designed a battery pack that could easily and comfortably be slipped in a pocket (or as Mia suggested in a bra), as well as an over-ear plastic enclosure to protect the fragile interface where heating wires exit the plastic mask and are connected to power:

Future Ideation:

After completing the latest iteration of Avisly and seeing how thin heating wires could be, I imagined being able to integrate heating wire into garments, and created these marker renderins of a glove, scarf, and back brace:

Previous Generation:

If you’re curious to see how much the masks improved over time, here are some images of an earlier stage of development, where the heating wires were much thicker, and the mask less defined: