'Fitbit for face' connects to any face mask to turn it into a smart monitoring device

  • By:jobsplan

13

02/2022

A new smart sensor has been unveiled that can turn any face mask into a Fitbit-style health monitoring device.

The FaceBit, or 'Fitbit for the face,' is a quarter-size sensor that attaches to a face mask using a small magnet and tracks the wearer's breathing and heart rate, how long they've been wearing the mask, and whether mask has started to leak.

Designed with the medical community in mind, anyone can use it to monitor their health, especially as many US states and cities continue their mask mandates.

The lightweight device can even be used to predict a user's emotional state and level of fatigue, according to the Northwestern University engineering group behind Facebit.

scroll down for video

A new smart sensor has been unveiled that can turn any face mask into a Fitbit-style health monitoring device

The device wirelessly transfers all data to a smartphone app so users can check their health in real time. In the event of a mask leak or other health risk, such as elevated heart rate, you can send an immediate notification to the wearer.

While the tiny device is powered by a small battery, it is constantly recharged simply by the force of the user's breath. It also charges from heat emanating from the user, as well as from the sun, meaning it would last 11 days between full charges.

Lead designer Josiah Hester, Breed Junior Professor of Design at Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering, said he wanted to create a "smart" face mask aimed at healthcare professionals that "doesn't need to be inconveniently plugged in for half a a shift,' Eureka Alerts reports.

"We boost battery power by harvesting power from multiple sources, which means you can wear the mask for a week or two without having to charge or replace the battery."

The FaceBit, or 'Fitbit for the face,' is a quarter-size sensor that attaches to a face mask using a small magnet and tracks the wearer's breathing and heart rate, how long they've been wearing the mask, and whether mask has started to leak

The lightweight device can even be used to predict a user's emotional state and level of fatigue, according to the Northwestern University engineering group behind Facebit.

The device wirelessly transfers all data to a smartphone app so users can check their health in real time. In the event of a mask leak or other health risk, such as an elevated heart rate, you can send an immediate notification to the wearer

Facebit has conducted its first round of testing on volunteers, but will need to undergo clinical trials to include mask leak alerts.

The engineering team has already released the designs as open source and open hardware so that any company or individual can start producing the device.

“FaceBit provides a first step toward practical on-the-face detection and inference and provides a sustainable, convenient and comfortable option for general health monitoring for frontline workers of COVID-19 and beyond,” Hester said. "I'm very excited to hand this over to the research community to see what they can do with it."

While Hester created the device with the medical community in mind, people still wearing cloth, surgical, or N95 face masks will benefit from its advanced monitoring as mandates continue.

READ ALSO

Most NFTs created with OpenSea's free minting tool are fake or spam

January 29, 2022

The IMF says it continues to have a strong commitment to El Salvador

January 29, 2022

It assesses heart rate by monitoring the imperceptibly small movements a person's head makes each time it beats and can calculate the rate.

"Your heart is pushing a lot of blood through the body and the ballistic force is quite strong," Hester said. "We were able to feel that force as the blood travels down a major artery to the face."

By combining heart rate information with respiratory rate, such as an elevated heart rate and rapid breathing, Facebit detects stress and when someone is upset and can send an alert telling them to take a break or take a deep breath to calm down.

Designed with the medical community in mind, anyone can use it to monitor their health, especially as many US states and cities continue their mask mandates. stock image

Hester explained that his team had interviewed doctors, nurses, and physician assistants about what they wanted from a smart mask. All responded that they wanted to focus on mask fit, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and dealing with other infectious patients.

Current hospital mask fit tests for N-95s involve the wearer donning a plastic hood and being blasted with increasing amounts of aerosols that taste sweet or bitter, until they can taste them.

If they can detect the flavor too early in the process, their masks are too loose.

Hester hopes to eventually streamline the process and help alert wearers if their mask moves or becomes loose and starts leaking.

"If you wear a mask for 12 hours or more, sometimes your face can go numb," Hester said. 'You may not even realize your mask is loose because you can't feel it or you're too burned to notice. We can approximate the fit testing process by measuring the resistance of the mask. If we see a sudden drop in resistance, that indicates a leak has formed and we can alert the user.

'Fitbit for face' connects to any face mask to turn it into a smart monitoring device
  • 256
  • a mask that is like a facial

Related Articles