Turn any mask into a connected object

Researchers have created FaceBit, an equivalent of the Fitbit connected bracelet that attaches to a surgical, FFP or fabric mask. It monitors the wearer’s vital signs and alerts them when the mask is ill-fitting or needs to be changed.

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What if your mask monitored your health and alerted you when it’s ill-fitting or time to change it? Researchers from northwestern university in the United States have developed a small device that attaches to any mask to transform it into connected object. They published the details of their invention in the journal Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies.

The FaceBit is a small device containing sensors, which attaches to the inside of the mask with a magnet. It synchronizes with a smartphone via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to transmit real-time information on the health of the user and the wearing of the mask.

Presentation of FaceBit, the device that transforms any mask into a connected object. © Northwestern University

A project under a free license


The device uses ballistocardiography, in other words a sensor detects small movements body to measure heart rate. One temperature sensor detects respiratory rate. Finally, a third sensor analyzes changes in pression and thus locates the leaks ofair. It can then alert the user that the mask is ill-fitting or defective, and notify them when it is time to change mask.

The FaceBit is powered by a small button cell battery that provides 11 days of battery life. However, the device can work for weeks thanks to tiny generators electric harvesters the kinetic energy, thermal and solar. Device information has been released under a free license, and project details are available at FaceBit.Health. The researchers hope that other people will be able to build, validate and improve the FaceBit.

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