- Reusable face mask rolls out of a "necklace" device for easy access anytime
- Device safely sterilizes and stores the mask when not in use
- Lightweight necklace design allows for a replaceable mask cartridge
Researchers at the University of Central Florida have designed a face mask that conveniently rolls into a necklace-like device that also sterilizes the mask when not in use. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommend wearing a mask to prevent infections and to mitigate the spread of contagious diseases such as COVID-19, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and middle east respiratory syndrome (MERS). However, users can often misplace or forget to wear their masks when needed. They may also unintentionally contaminate their masks during donning or doffing and may not be diligent about sterilizing the masks. Thus, it is crucial to improve the face mask design so that individuals remember to wear their masks and can safely and easily sterilize the masks after use.
The UCF design allows a user to conveniently wear the device like a necklace and quickly deploy and use the face mask as needed. In one example application, the mask is encased in a replaceable cartridge and rolls up and down via rotational springs and rachet gears inside the device. A user can easily pull up the mask by the ear loops and securely place it over the nose and mouth, adjusting for size as needed. When the mask is no longer needed, the user presses a button on the device to disengage the ratchet gears and recoil the mask back into its housing. Inside the housing, arrays of ultraviolet (UV) lights sterilize the mask, which is oriented on glass rods in a zig-zag pattern. The design allows the UV light to disinfect both the front and back of the mask. A USB-C port enables the use of a rechargeable battery.
The research team is looking for partners to develop the technology further for commercialization.
- Encourages the use of masks as part of daily wear and disease prevention
- Safe, low-cost and convenient
- Easily replaceable
- Personal protective equipment for medical personnel, first responders and the public