Face masks are only useful if they fit properly around the wearer’s mouth and nose. Therefore, engineers at Northwestern University. They have devised a smart mask for healthcare workers with a smart sensor, that can automatically identify leaks and other medical concerns.
After nearly two years of a global pandemic, there hasn’t been much innovation in face masks. Companies such as Razer have attempted to transform face masks into LED-packed luminous accessories. But after revealing a pro version of its Zephyr mask at CES 2022 last week, the firm later conceded that the mask does not truly utilize N95-grade filters, making it a bad option in the age of Omicron.
Engineers from Northwestern University used a novel technique to improve face masks. They created and built a small electronic module filled with sensors. It attaches to the interior of a conventional medical-grade N95 mask using magnets to ensure that the modification has no effect on the mask’s functioning. The battery that powers the module’s present design has to be charged often. However, its creators are optimistic that it may be upgraded to collect heat and even the wearer’s breathing motions in order to recharge itself and increase battery life to weeks. To encourage others to explore and develop the idea, the project and hardware requirements have been published open-source.
Do we really need smart masks,
Do we really need smart masks when we don’t need smart lighting, smart appliances, or even smart homes?
Most of us don’t. But doctors and nurses work 12-hour shifts and wear the same mask all day. You face particular pandemic concerns. Medical staff typically undertake fit checks to ensure that the masks they wear all day maintain a suitable seal. But it’s a lengthy, 20-minute procedure that few healthcare professionals have time to perform on a regular basis. The FaceBit module cannot replace the fit test. But it can detect if a mask has become loose later on by using motion sensors to detect. When a mask has been inadvertently bumped, it alerts the wearer, who may have missed it, or by detecting a drop in airflow resistance, which could indicate a leak has developed.
Monitoring the appropriate fit of a mask is reason enough to utilize the FaceBit module. But its sensors can also transform a face mask into a health tracker. Respiratory rates may be continuously tracked, and ultra-sensitive motion sensors can detect minor head movement every time a wearer’s heart beats. Providing useful health indicators that can be monitored by a connected app on a mobile device.
The acquired data can then be processed and used to present users with useful ideas. Such as going for a walk or practising breathing exercises. To lower identified stress, or when it’s time to replace their mask that has been worn for a suggested time period. FaceBit’s creators even propose hospitals and medical centres. They use the collected health data to keep tabs on healthcare workers who may be particularly struggling under the added load of the pandemic. In order to provide some much-needed rest before they completely burn out and leave, exacerbating staffing issues.
However, before FaceBit is widely distributed. It must first go through clinical trials and additional validation to ensure it is successful, the engineers behind it said. However, given the open-source approach, this should be accelerated, allowing other engineers and researchers around the world to contribute to the project and provide an effective answer sooner.