Israeli researchers say they have invented a reusable face mask that can kill the coronavirus with heat by drawing power from a mobile phone charger.
The disinfecting process takes about 30 minutes – and users should not wear the mask while it is plugged in, said Professor Yair Ein-Eli, who led the research team at Technion University in Haifa.
The new mask has a USB port that connects to a power source such as a standard smartphone charger that heats an inner layer of carbon fibers to up to 70 degrees Celsius.
At that temperature – 158 degrees Fahrenheit – it’s possible to kill any viruses on the mask.
Ein-Eli said disposable masks, in high demand globally during the health crisis, were not economically or environmentally friendly.
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‘You have to make it reusable and friendly, and this is our solution,’ he said about the invention.
The prototype looks like a standard N95 face mask, with a valve at the front and rubber bands to hold it in place around the head.
The researchers submitted a patent for the mask in the United States in late March and say they are discussing commercializing the product with the private sector.
It will likely sell at a $1 premium over the price of a typical disposable face mask, the researchers say.
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