Romanian designer wins MIT prize for high-tech face mask prototype

A face mask equipped with a sensor that detects Covid-19 particles in the surroundings, designed by a Romanian engineer, has scooped the top prize at a contest from MIT Media Lab.

Burzo Ciprian’s award-winning design, “social mask”, is a minimalist, transparent mask featuring a biosensor that can connect to a smartphone. Via an app, users would be able to track the number of surrounding air-borne pathogens, collecting data that also maps other users around you and calculates the risk of infection with Covid-19.

The design, which is still a prototype under development, won a competition by MIT’s pandemic response lab that asked engineers and designers to come up with creative responses that reimagine face coverings and personal protective equipment (PPE).

“Connecting the mask with our smartphone is a real option for the future,” says Ciprian. “We should know who is infected in our area, and get informed on our smartphone about what the biosensor has detected based on surrounding particles. These are just a few of the options that will surely feature in the mask of the future.”

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