‘Smart Mask’ from SPYRAS can monitor COVID-19 symptoms

Health-tech company SPYRAS has today announced the development of a ‘Smart Mask’ which can, for the first time, monitor respiratory symptoms in wearers, including some of the common symptoms of COVID-19.

The mask uses a paper sensor to gather respiratory information and display it in real time on a user’s smartphone. Changes in breathing or abnormal breathing trends can be quickly identified. This means the symptoms of illnesses such as COVID-19 which cause respiratory problems can be tracked by SPYRAS’s mask.

The mask is able to analyse the users’ breathing patterns, inhalation and exhalation times, depth and even the exertion scores of breathing (how hard you have been working to breathe in relation to activity levels). Cloud-based algorithms analyse data the mask gathers, and takes into account external factors such as weather, pollen and pollution to analyse factor which could be affecting users’ breathing.

UK-based SPYRAS, which recently won the Med-Tech Innovation Award for Material Innovation against the likes of 3M and Stratasys, and the London Mayor’s Entrepreneurial Award for Tech, has received more than £400,000 in grants and awards from the likes of InnovateUK and the Royal Academy of Engineering. It is now calling for volunteers to test the masks further, in order to begin commercial production early next year.

Users can follow breathing techniques, visualise air pollution of their surrounding area, and get notified on decreasing mask filter efficiency.

SPYRAS’s sensing technology provides a highly accurate, non-invasive and disposable paper sensor that can be placed directly into mask filters. When the filter needs to be replaced or the user wants to wash their mask, they will first be notified of the decrease in filter performance ahead of time. When changing or washing a mask, the electronics module can be detached to be reused later and the sensor is then disposed of to keep the mask sterile, with a replacement in its place.

The Smart Mask was tested at the Medical Devices Testing and Evaluations Centre (MD-TEC) at the University Hospitals Birmingham Trust. Over a minute breathing rate average, SPYRAS achieved a 99.5% accuracy rate compared with standards used to assess ICU equipment.

George Winfield, Founder and CEO of SPYRAS, said, “Back in March, the team suggested that we should place a sensing technology directly into the filters of masks to track respiratory patterns. Now, with the support of Innovate UK, we have delivered an entirely new product and back-end platform in just a few months. Our technology has fantastic potential, beyond the current laser focus on respiratory function, to expand into telemonitoring, remote assessment and physiotherapy of respiratory conditions.”

The device will enter now enter user trials to provide feedback on the features and applications before market entry in early 2021.