Due to the pandemic, wearing a mask has become a pretty common sight as it is a way to prevent people who are sick from passing on the virus, and also to prevent people who are healthy from catching the virus from those who are sick. However, masks need to be worn properly in order to be at their most effective.
This means that it needs to be form-fitting and have a relatively tight seal to prevent airborne particles from seeping through any gaps. Typically medical professionals are trained on how to ensure their masks are worn properly, but what about the general population? That’s something that researchers at Northwestern University are trying to solve with the FaceBit.
In its current form, the FaceBit is an N95 mask retrofitted with a sensor. This sensor can actually help to detect whether or not the mask is worn properly by letting users know if there might be any leaks. In addition to detecting leaks, the sensors can also be used as a health gauge, where it can measure things like your heart rate using subtle head movements from blood pumping.
The best part is that the sensor has a battery that can be recharged using the sun, breathing force, heat, and motion, but the researchers are hoping to eventually create a version that is completely battery-free. It might be a while (if ever) before the FaceBit becomes something that’s commercially available, but even then, when the pandemic passes and when masks become less common, its features could still be of use to those working in the medical field.