Michael Ingle was sitting in his Lewisville office when he heard news reports about the shortages of face masks.
He thought about the Clean Sleep machine he invented for sanitizing mattresses.
"Well, masks are a soft surface," he thought. "I wonder if we can clean them, too?"
It worked. Ingle, who studied mechanical engineering and entrepreneurship at UNT from 2000 to 2004, found that his device could clean N95 face masks up to 20 times. While the mattresses are cleaned through dry steam, vacuum and ozone generation, the face masks instead went under UV light and heat.
Now hospitals around Texas are using the Clean Sleep machines, and he's grateful he can help out during the pandemic.
"This is more than just a job," he says. "This is a job with an intended purpose of extending masks to those on the frontline -- the health care workers."
Ingle, a serial entrepreneur who has appeared on Shark Tank, may find more opportunity now that the coronavirus has made sanitizing more essential than ever.
"The way we live has changed forever," he says. "For me, it's exciting to understand the ripple effects of the pandemic so we can make a difference."