Researchers in Israel say they’ve created a face mask that kills the Covid-19 virus with heat. The virus-zapping mask has a USB port that allows a power source such as a phone charger to be connected to it.
Once powered, it takes 30 minutes for the mask to heat up to a temperature that will kill the virus (70 degrees Celsius or 158 degrees Fahrenheit), thereby disinfecting its inner layer of carbon fibres.
Professor Yair Ein-Eli, who led the research team at Technion, the Israeli Institute of Technology, in Haifa, explained that one of the main problems with the typical disposable face mask is that it’s environmentally damaging.
“You have to make it reusable and friendly, and this is our solution,” he said about heatable masks.
The researchers submitted a patent for the mask in late March in the US, and discussions are ongoing about bringing it to market in the private sector. The prototype reportedly looks similar to the surgical-grade N95 mask used in hospitals worldwide, but, when commercially available, will sell for $1 more than the standard version.
With masks in high demand globally during the pandemic, researchers have been coming up with new ways to boost its lifespan. In May, researchers from Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, and the University of California in the US, created a hydrophobic membrane that makes the N95 mask reusable and more effective.
With no sign of the virus abating, and with some countries now mandating that their citizens wear masks in public, manufacturers are incentivized to keep coming up with ever more inventive and environmentally friendly solutions to the problem.
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