Tue. Sep 21st, 2021

The pandemic has been preoccupying Jim Collins for years, even before the new coronavirus emerged. In 2014, his biotechnology lab at MIT started developing a sensor that could detect the Ebola virus when swathed on a piece of paper. When a small team of scientists at MIT and Harvard published their research in 2016, they adapted the sensor to the growing threat posed by the new virus.

The team, headed by Jim Collins, a bioengineer at MIT, hopes to adapt previous technologies to detect Ebola and Zika viruses to use in the current pandemic. If successful, the technology could provide a quick alternative to formal tests for the coronavirus, as doctors would diagnose patients locally. The team is currently looking for production partners to help with the mass production of face masks and diagnostics.

A new study by engineers at MIT and Harvard University shows that tiny disposable sensors that fit over other face masks and can be adapted to detect other viruses can be integrated not only into face masks but also into clothes such as lab coats, providing a new way to monitor health workers’ exposure to a variety of pathogens and other threats. The sensors are based on freeze-dried cellular machines developed by researchers and used on paper to diagnose Ebola and Zika. Face mask diagnostics can also be integrated into textile clothing to detect pathogens and environmental toxins.

The Face Mask sensors are designed to be activated by the wearer when they are ready to perform a test, and the results are displayed outside of the mask, away from the user’s privacy.

The button that activates the mask delivers the COVID results within 90 minutes in an easy-to-read format similar to a pregnancy test at home. At first glance, this is very different from face masks that can detect COVID-19 or other pathogens or toxins, but the prototype mask can alert the wearer of the virus within 90 minutes, much faster than the standard KN95 mask.

The technology results from years of work on the so-called Wearable Freeze-Dried Cell Free (WFDCF) technology. To demonstrate the technology, the researchers developed a jacket with 30 sensors. To create the wearable sensors, the team embedded its freeze-dried components in a small section of the synthetic fabric where they are surrounded by a silicone ring.
The results will be displayed on the inside of the new face mask embedded with tiny disposable sensors capable of diagnosing COVID-19 in about 90 minutes, all in the user’s privacy, said researchers Monday. The sensors are designed to be activated by the wearer when they want to perform a test. According to the researchers, these sensors can also be switched to other pathogens such as flu, Ebola, and Zika.

According to Business Insider, researchers at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed sensors that light up over the past six years to signal the presence of viruses, including those that cause Zika and Ebola. In 2018, lab sensors detected SARS, measles, hepatitis C, influenza, West Nile, and other viruses. The researchers have now developed a portable biosensor that can detect the existence of viruses in one breath.

The wearable technology developed by scientists at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Inspiring Engineering and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology can detect coronavirus particles in the breath of the mask wearer for up to 90 minutes, the researchers said in a scientific study published this week. A team of researchers from Wyss and MIT has discovered a way to embed synthetic biological reactions in textiles to develop wearable biosensors adapted to detect pathogens and toxic toxins and warn wearers.

Researchers from Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biological Inspired Engineering and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed sensor technology that can be used on face masks to detect whether the wearer has the coronavirus, creating an effective tool to stem the spread of the pandemic. The masks contain sensors that react with droplets when a person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. Elements of the masks change color in response to droplets carrying the novel coronaviruses.
Biosensors are activated when a button is pressed, and the wearer is hydrated with freeze-dry components that analyze breathing droplets within the mask for results within 90 minutes. After 90 minutes, a small strip of paper attaching to the mask registers that the wearer COVID-19 contracted.

By Mandy Berg

Mandy is an editor and writer for Plainsmen Post. She's covered everything from the Stanley Cup Finals to the world of lightsaber combat in his young career.

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