BOSTON (WHDH) - The facemask of the future could alert wearers if they are infected with COVID-19.
Researchers at Harvard and MIT are creating wearable biosensors that can detect the virus in a person’s breath.
“At the end of the day, what we wanted to do was basically to blend both to potentially produce a product that was more easily incentivized patients to both wear a mask and to get tested,” MIT researcher Luis Soenksen said.
Experts say making these masks required several different chemical reactions.
“Essentially we compress the biological functionality of many living systems that can sense things around into a format that we can put into something that very much looks like ramen noodles,” Soenksen explained.
“That their reactions are preserved in a particular way to just add water and boom the reaction happens,” the researcher said.
The mask can diagnose at accuracy levels similar to standard diagnostic tests and detect COVID-19 within 90 minutes of a person being exposed.
Researchers say they are working to see if these masks can detect variants as well as other viruses.
They hope they can be used where masks are still required under CDC guidelines and in future pandemics.
“Before you take the plane so you can envision in the future where if this pandemic remains or in the next ones that are going to follow unfortunately you can imagine getting tested at the airport while you are wearing a masks anyways,” Soenksen said.
The researchers who played a role in the making of these masks say they are proud of their work.
“We hope to excite people both in Boston but abroad and anywhere to, you know, try to emulate these kind of concepts,” Soenksen said.
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