Fitbit, A Smart Face Mask  

The simple face mask, which is inevitable now a days, has now become smarter with a group of researchers at Northwestern University developing a new smart sensor platform for face masks.

Named “Fitbit for the face”, the new smart facemask is lightweight and uses quartersized sensor, and can be attached to any N95, cloth or surgical face mask using a magnet. The research is funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF).


The NSF in an official statement said that the smart face mask not only sense the user’s real-time respiration rate, heart rate and mask wear time but also helps in replacing cumbersome tests by measuring mask fit. All this information is then wirelessly transmitted to a smartphone app, which contains a dashboard for real-time health monitoring. The app can immediately alert the user when issues — such as elevated heart rate or a leak in the mask — unexpectedly arise. The physiological data could also be used to predict fatigue, physical health status and emotional state. Although a tiny battery powers the device, FaceBit is designed to harvest energy from a variety of ambient sources — including heat and motion from a user’s breathing and from the sun. This extends the Default sensor’s battery life, lengthening time between charges.


“We wanted to design an intelligent face mask for health care professionals that does not need to be inconveniently plugged in during the middle of a shift,” said Northwestern’s Josiah Hester, who led the device development. “We augmented the battery’s energy with energy harvesting from various sources, which means that you can wear the mask for a week or two without having to charge or replace the battery.”

The research was published in Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies. In the study, researchers found that FaceBit’s accuracy was similar to clinical-grade devices, and that the battery lasted longer than 11 days between charges.



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