Anti-terrorist bra-mask to fight swine flu?

A patented brassiere that converts into a face mask — actually into a pair of face masks — could conceivably aid the sudden Mexican and worldwide defense against swine flu. The top two images here, reproduced form the patent, show the device deployed in each of its two modes. The third image shows a modified Mexican 20-peso bill that is being circulated on the Internet as a tribute to the battered Mexican and world economy and to the sudden desperate fight against the spread of swine flu. As described in AIR 14-3:

U.S. patent #7255627 was granted to Elena N. Bodnar of Hinsdale, Illinois, and Raphael C. Lee and Sandra Marijan of Chicago on August 14, 2007 for an “Garment device convertible to one or more facemasks.” Their intent, they say, is “to provide a garment which is operable to be converted into a facemask” and “to increase accessibility to facemasks.”

This is:

“a garment device which converts into one or more facemasks. In one embodiment, the garment device is a bra or a brassiere garment. The bra has two cups…. The inner portions of the cups are disconnectable, and the outer portions of the cups are disconnectable. As such, the bra is separable into two halves. Each halve is securable to a user’s face to form a facemask.”

(Thanks to investigator Estrella Burgos for bringing the 20-peso note to our attention.)