The facemask sends an alert to the wearer via their smartphone. (Credit: University of Granada)

A new mask sends an alert to the wearer via their smartphone when the recommended healthy CO2 limits inside the facemask are exceeded.

The FFP2 facemask makes it possible to ascertain the level of CO2 rebreathed in real time, using a smartphone application. This method — a wearable gas-monitoring system that is characterized by its low cost, scalability, reliability, and convenience — represents a significant advance with important health benefits.

The proposed system is based on inserting a flexible tag into a standard FFP2 mask. This tag comprises an innovative, custom-developed opto-chemical CO2 sensor, together with the necessary signal-processing electronics. Both the sensor and the circuitry are fabricated onto a lightweight, flexible polymeric substrate, forming the so-called sensing tag, which causes no discomfort to the wearer.

The scientists have conducted preliminary tests of the smart facemask on both subjects conducting sedentary activity and those performing physical exercise. The facemask is 100 percent environmentally friendly. It does not require batteries, relying instead on standard wireless smartphone technology.

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