A prototype N95 face mask with a sensor built into the breath valve appears to be highly sensitive to virus proteins in early-stage tests
By Clare Wilson
A face mask with an integrated virus sensor could detect tiny amounts of the coronavirus after a 10-minute conversation with someone who is infected.
The mask would then send a signal to the smartphone of the person wearing the face covering, letting them decide to leave an area where coronavirus is in the air – or take off their mask if they feel safe when there is no virus detected.
But the results so far are based on early-stage work. The mask hasn’t yet been tested against whole viruses – just the coronavirus’s surface proteins – and the technology is still in development, says Yin Fang at Tongji University in China.