MIT’s Pandemic Response Design Challenge winner is a mask that actively scans the air for germs

A winner of the MIT Pandemic Response CoLab #ReimagineMask Challenge, the Social Mask doesn’t just stop microparticles and microorganisms from entering your respiratory system… it alerts you of their presence too.

The mask comes with a transparent design, which seems fitting since it focuses on data transparency too. The mask sports a 3D-printed frame that houses filters along with a biosensor that actively monitors the air you breathe. Air quality metrics are sent to your phone, capturing not just pollution levels but the presence of germs too. The sensor detects the presence of air-borne pathogens, alerting you if there’s something hazardous in the air. Data transparency goes both ways too, with a temperature sensor built into the cheek-area of the polycarbonate frame, allowing people around you to know your own body temperature… a feature that lets others know if you’re healthy or feeling feverish.

The Social Mask flips the contact-tracing argument by just tracing the air instead. More than just filtering the air you breathe of contaminants, the Social Mask lets you know if they’re there in the first place, and works to create a map of the places you visit, actively giving you stats of what the air was like when you were there. Pretty neat, eh?!

Designer: Burzo Ciprian