JWU Student Designs Mask to Alert First-Responders to Harmful Contaminants

Story by JWU Media Relations , on Apr 20, 2020 2:01 PM

Sharkfest winner Brian Thornber


Awarded $5,000 by JWU to Support Product Development

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — April 20, 2020 – Johnson & Wales University (JWU) junior Brian Thornber, an integrated product design major, was awarded $5,000 to support his Bloodhound Mask, a mask that alerts first-responders to harmful contaminants. Thornber submitted his idea and prototype and placed first in the university’s Sharkfest 2020, a competition highlighting the talents and entrepreneurial spirit of JWU students.

“Participating in Sharkfest 2020 was a great learning experience,” says Thornber. “I was able to take my background in product design and fuse it with my knowledge of entrepreneurship. Problems that can be detected with the Bloodhound Mask include, leaks, punctures, tears, and faulty filters. It has the possibility to be used by firefighters, DEM workers and manufacturing workers. It’s great to see all my hard work pay off.”

Thornber started working on the Bloodhound Mask in 2019, when he and other JWU students participated in YHack, a hackathon at Yale University. His goal with this mask is to protect users in high-risk situations where there is no guarantee the air breathed in is actually clean. He is in the process of acquiring a patent for the mask, and plans to put his prize money towards filing fees.

“Brian is the epitome of our students, creative, hard-working, and possess a high level of social consciousness,” said Frank Tweedie, dean of the College of Engineering & Design. “He’s worked hard over the years to expand his concept and develop a working prototype. This award will help him move to the next level.”  


About JWU

Founded in 1914, Johnson & Wales University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 12,000 graduate, undergraduate and online students at its four campuses in Providence, Rhode Island; North Miami, Florida; Denver, Colorado; and Charlotte, North Carolina. An innovative educational leader, the university offers degree programs in arts and sciences, business, culinary arts, design and engineering, education, health and wellness, hospitality, nutrition and physician assistant studies. Its unique model integrates arts and sciences and industry-focused education with work experience and leadership opportunities, inspiring students to achieve professional success and lifelong personal and intellectual growth. The university’s impact is global, with alumni from 125 countries pursuing careers worldwide. For more information, visit jwu.edu.