In a breakthrough development amid COVID-19, researchers at Northwestern University have created a new smart sensor program for face masks that they have named ‘Fitbit for the face.’
Characteristically, the quarter-sized sensor that is light weight uses a tiny magnet to clip to any cloth or surgical face mask.
Besides sensing the user’s real-time heart rate, respiration rate and mask wear time, the sensor may be able to replace tedious tests by measuring mask fit. The collected information is then wirelessly transferred to a smartphone app, which contains a dashboard for health monitoring in real-time.
The smartphone app immediately alerts the user in the event of an unexpected occurrence such as leak in the mask or elevated heart rate. The physiological data could also be used to anticipate emotional state, fatigue, and physical health status.
Whilst the device receives power from a tiny battery, Fitbit for the face is designed to gather energy from various ambient sources, which includes motion and heat from the user’s breath and the sun. This helps to extend the battery life of the sensor, and lengthens time between charging.
The objective was to design a smart face mask for healthcare pros that does not requires to be inconveniently connected in the middle of a shift. This require expanding the energy need of the battery by means of gathering energy from various sources. This implies the mask can be used for a week or two without the need to charge or replace the battery.
The findings of the research is published earlier last week. During the study, researchers discovered accuracy of FaceBit to be similar to clinical grade devices, and expanded length of 11 days between two charging.