Harvard & MIT Researchers Currently Developing Face Mask That Lights Up When Wearer Has Covid-19

While pharmaceutical companies are in a race to develop a vaccine, some are developing advanced face masks that can detect Covid-19.

On Thursday (14 May), South China Morning Post (SCMP) reports that MIT and Harvard researchers are developing a face mask that lights up when the wearer has the coronavirus.

If the research is successful, then it may be a vital step to quelling the outbreak.

Face mask that lights up

A team of Harvard and MIT researchers is developing face masks that light up when it detects Covid-19.

Unlike the usual face mask, it’s equipped with a sensor that produces a fluorescent signal when an infected person coughs, breathes, or sneezes.


So far, the team has tested the sensor’s ability to identify Covid-19 through a small saliva sample.

When the virus is detected, the sensors will emit a fluorescent signal within 1 to 3 hours, according to MIT researcher Jim Collins.

While development is still in its early stages, the team plans to show that their technology works within a few weeks.

Working on a design

As of now, the team is working on its face masks’ design.

They’re identifying strategic spots where they can embed the sensor inside the mask.

lights upSource

MIT researcher Jim Collins told Business Insider,

Once we’re in that stage, then it would be a matter setting up trials with individuals expected to be infected to see if it would work in a real-world setting.

Research worked in the past

The research seems promising because it’s already worked with other diseases.

The team – led by Mr Collins – previously developed sensors that could identify the Ebola virus and Zika virus.

In 2018, the sensors could also identify SARS, hepatitis C, influenza, West Nile, and measles.

Possibilities are endless

Once this technology is successfully developed, it will be a huge step forward in combatting the global pandemic.

Researchers envision that doctors can use it to immediately detect suspected cases of Covid-19. Meanwhile, airport security could utilise it to identify infected travellers.

More importantly, people can finally have the means to protect themselves during their daily commute.

Hoping technology is successful

To weed out suspected cases of Covid-19, we are relying on temperature checks and contact tracing. While these tools have helped, we need a faster and more efficient way to detect the coronavirus.

Here’s to hoping that these highly advanced face masks will be successfully developed and mass-produced soon.

What do you think of the idea behind these cutting-edge masks? Let us know in the comments below.

Featured image from Newsmax.