Face mask that lights up if it detects coronavirus being developed by scientists

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·2-min read
Surgical mask on white background
Researchers are testing a face mask to see if it can light up when it detects coronavirus. (Getty)

Scientists in the US are developing technology that would see face masks light up when coronavirus is detected.

Researchers at Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are fitting sensors inside the masks that would light up if they detect the presence of the virus from breathing, coughing or sneezing, according to Business Insider.

The technology was initially developed to detect the Ebola virus but it is now being adapted to help deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Shoppers wearing protective face masks at a fruit and vegetable market stall in East Ham, east London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Shoppers wearing protective face masks at a fruit and vegetable market stall in East Ham, east London. (PA)

Jim Collins, whose bioengineering lab at MIT began work on the sensors in 2014, said the technology could be rolled out on a wider scale if it proves successful.

He said: "As we open up our transit system, you could envision it being used in airports as we go through security, as we wait to get on a plane.

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”You or I could use it on the way to and from work. Hospitals could use it for patients as they come in or wait in the waiting room as a pre-screen of who's infected."

The team are said to be in the “very early stages” of the project but are hoping to begin trials within the next few weeks.

Collins said once the sensors detect a trace of coronavirus, they will give off a fluorescent signal within one to three hours – considerably less time than the 24 hours it currently takes to run tests for coronavirus.

The UK government has advised Brits to wear face coverings when in small, enclosed spaces or when travelling on public transport to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The government website states: “They [face coverings or masks] may be beneficial in places where it is hard to follow maintain social distancing measures.

“This applies when using public transport, such as trains, buses and metro systems, or when visiting shops.

“They do not need to be worn outdoors, while exercising, in schools, in workplaces such as offices and retail, by those who may find them difficult to wear, such as children under two or primary aged children who cannot use them without assistance, or those who may have problems breathing while wearing a face covering.”

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