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Local inventor creates unique mask with magnetic straps

Local innovator improves the comfort of a traditional mask by offering magnetic straps that attach at the back of the wearer's head.

After taking his mask off and putting it back on dozens of times one winter day, with ears sore from carrying the burden of keeping the mask on his face, one local innovator decided there had to be a better design.

Ian Sims has created the Magnemasque that sees the straps meet magnetically at the back of the wearer’s head instead of being hinged on the ears.

“I was driving my truck at Fifth and Ospika and I thought there’s got to be something better than this,” Sims said. “The first thing that popped into my mind that doesn’t interfere with hair or anything like that is magnets.”

That same day, he went out to buy supplies and built the first Magnemasque.

It took a bit to figure out the design but he’s got it now with different sizes and styles and different lengths of removable straps that snap onto the mask. There are several levels to the masks, beginning with the basic model and increasing to several levels of advanced protection.

Sims, who studied engineering at Queen’s University, started his career early in construction as part of his family’s company and he’s always looked for ways to improve things. He’s invented two environmentally-friendly construction items called a poly pin and poly plate that are part of the foundational system used to build up a road.

“Magnemasque was born out of necessity in the field,” Sims said. “And if you’re going to wear a mask wear the one you’re going to hate the least.”

When people first saw Sims’ mask, asking him to make custom ones, they grew in popularity very quickly.

“More and more people kept asking and asking,” Sims said. “So I asked myself when in my lifetime have (billions of) people on this planet ever been asked to do the same thing simultaneously and they all agreed. So we’ve got the whole planet on the same page, using the exact same product and for this whole year no one has focused on the straps. They all focused on the mask - adding vents, logos, different shapes - stuff like that but no one actually looked at how they were attached and when I did the patentability search on this it blew my mind.”

No one had patented magnet infused straps.

He now has patent pending in Canada, United States and China.

“So now we own the intellectual property for magnet infused straps for the Magnemasque,” Sims said. He’s also got the trademark on the name Magnemasque.

“When this mask is on a million faces I want people to say that mask is from Canada, specifically Prince George, British Columbia, Canada and I think that’s really cool,” Sims said.

Production is right here in Prince George at Sims' shop.

He’s lived here all his life and has recruited friends he’s had since elementary school to be his production team.

He is proud that he was able to source 90 per cent of all the parts of the mask in Canada.

“We’re more Canadian than the Canadian flag that’s made in China,” Sims laughed.

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