A group of Chinese scientists have developed a face mask that, after just ten minutes of speaking with an infected person, can detect viral exposure.
The respiratory microorganisms that led to COVID-19 and influenza spread via microscopic droplets and aerosols expelled by infected individuals when coughing, sneezing, and talking.
Researchers from Tongji University developed a wearable bioelectronic mask that could identify common respiratory viruses, such as the coronavirus and influenza, in the air as droplets or aerosols and inform users via mobile devices.
The very sensitive face mask can measure gaseous samples at an ultra-low concentration of 0.1 femtograms per milliliter and trace-level liquid samples of 0.3 microliters, according to the study that was published in the journal.
The detection threshold for liquid containing viral proteins in an enclosed chamber, according to Tongji professor Fang Yin, is “approximately 70 to 560 times less than the volume of liquid produced in one sneeze, cough, or speak”.
Mr. Fang, who is also the paper’s author, and his colleagues created a tiny sensor that could recognize the surface proteins on SARS-CoV-2, H5N1, and H1N1 at the same time.
According to the study, after those molecules attached to the target proteins, an ion-gated transistor built into the mask would amplify the signal and warn the users.
The wearable device’s creator claimed that it would be simple to update it to recognize new respiratory viruses.