The MTC develops new dental aerosol protection equipment to safeguard against unwanted aerosol contaminants

22 April, 21

The MTC’s Business Launch Centre (BLC) and Product Manufacturing Incubator (PMI) have come together to develop Halo, a new product innovation designed to protect dentistry staff and patients against contaminated aerosol particles.

Since the start of the pandemic, dentistry has been severely impacted, with major implications to appointment and procedure times; “The risk of COVID-19 transmission via airborne particles has resulted, in some cases, in appointment capacity reduced to 15-20% versus pre-pandemic, due to the time required for equipment and room sanitisation and changing of PPE,” explains BLC Director, Dean Baker.

“So, in working with a number of dentist practices, we wanted to develop a solution that not only helped to maximise appointment time, but also protected staff and patients, as well as mitigated concerns regarding the safety of dentistry procedures in light of COVID-19.”

The project, which has been funded by the MTC, is a collaboration between BLC, PMI and the MTC’s design and simulation teams. It is also the latest in a series of projects led by PMI which have been focused on the launch of new medical devices.

With Halo, MTC engineers developed the high-volume extraction unit using simulation techniques, to allow for changes to the design of the device during the concept phase. A prototype was then produced using 3D printing.

Halo, the name given to the device which sits over the mouth during procedures, is ergonomically designed to be comfortable for the patient. It is attached to a hose, which is connected to a pump that fits beneath or to the side of a dentist’s chair. Using suction, the aerosol particles are fed through a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration system and collected in a disposable bag within the pump; this is removed after every use using a handle, so staff do not come into contact with the bag. The Halo device has also been designed for single use.

“We went through a number of design iterations when developing Halo, and so being able to simulate the device at each stage meant that we could adapt the specification more easily, and then measure the effect of design changes ahead of manufacturing the prototype,” says Reiss Harvey, Advanced Research Engineer for the MTC’s Product Design Group.

“We also explored different forms of suction and worked closely with dentists to understand what would be required from this type of device to help futureproof it and safeguard against other airborne diseases.”

Halo is the latest in a series of MTC projects concerning the development of medical devices to help the fight against COVID-19. Last year, in partnership with Rolls-Royce and leading medical practitioners, the MTC developed aerosol generating procedure (AGP) shields to protect frontline NHS staff when carrying out intubation procedures for COVID-19 patients. A new face visor, designed using laser cutting technology, was also developed, and an open-source technical pack was made available for free download to manufacturers.

Interested in finding out more about Halo?

The Halo project has now reached the prototype trials phase, and the MTC is keen to hear from dentistry organisations who are interested in taking part. For more information, please contact the PMI team at [email protected].

Looking to launch a new device to the medical sector?

The MTC’s Product Manufacturing Incubator has extensive experience in the development of medical devices. To find out more about how PMI can support with the design, development and prototyping of new medical devices, visit and contact the team for more information.

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