Q24N (DW) A team of researchers has designed a mask capable of detecting, after about 10 minutes, if a person is talking to another who is infected with one of the most common viruses, including the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19, influenza A (H1N1 ) or bird flu (H5N1).
The new wearable bioelectronic facemasks integrated with ion-gated transistors, designed at Tongji University in Shanghai, China, can also notify users through their mobile devices of the presence of these pathogens in the air around them.
The researchers, who have published the conclusions of their work in the journal Matter, focused, after evidence that masks can reduce the risk of spreading and contracting the disease, on designing one that would be capable of detecting the presence of the virus in the air and to alert the user.
Respiratory pathogens that cause influenza (H1N1) or COVID-19 are spread through small droplets and aerosols released by infected people when they talk, cough, and sneeze, and those virus-containing molecules, especially small aerosols, can remain suspended in the air for a long time.
The scientist Yin Fang, from the aforementioned University, stressed in the publication that the mask “works very well in spaces with poor ventilation, such as elevators or closed rooms, where the risk of becoming infected is high”, and has stressed that in the future, if a new respiratory virus emerges, they can easily update the sensor design to detect the new pathogens.
The researchers are now working to shorten the detection time and further increase the sensitivity of the sensor.