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Engineers create “Fitbit for the face”

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There might be such a thing as a “smart” face mask in the future.

Engineers at Northwestern University recently created a new smart sensor for face masks, essentially turning them into “Fitbit for the face.”

Device search was released last week, as well as details on how the quarter size sensor uses a small magnet to attach to any mask, tissue, or N95 surgical mask. The device can detect the user’s real-time respiratory rate, heart rate and mask wearing time, according to A press release.

Dubbed “FaceBit,” the sensor can send all of this information wirelessly to a smartphone app with a dashboard for real-time health monitoring.


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The app can be used to alert the mask wearer of issues such as a mask leak or elevated heart rate and its data may be able to predict “fatigue, physical health and condition. emotional”.

FaceBit’s sensor is powered by a small battery and by a “variety of ambient sources,” release states, such as the user’s breathing, movement, and the heat of the sun. Engineers hope this will allow users to use masks for long periods of time without recharging them.

Engineers are also hoping that they can eventually make FaceBit battery-free.

FaceBit was originally designed as a “smart” mask for healthcare professionals. Engineers first asked doctors, nurses and medical assistants about the potential needs for a smart face mask.

Healthcare workers have placed the quality and fit of face masks as their most important need.

Healthcare workers typically undergo a 20-minute “fit test” to make sure their N95 mask is properly sealed to their face, and while FaceBit cannot replace this process, it can alert the wearer when he has become cowardly or out of place.

“FaceBit is a first step towards convenient detection and inference on the face and provides a durable, convenient and comfortable option for general health monitoring of frontline workers COVID-19 and beyond,” said Assistant Professor of Electrical, Computer Engineering, and Computer Science at Northwestern University Josiah Hester, who led the development of the device.

“I’m really excited to pass this on to the research community to see what they can do with it. “


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