Smart and Low-Cost Face-Shields Capable of Protection, Prevention and Detection for Essential Workers Fighting COVID‑19 Pandemic

Zarifi, Mohammad Hossein | $50,000

British Columbia University of British Columbia 2020 NSERC Alliance COVID-19 Grant

The Coronavirus is easily transmissible from person to person through droplets conveyed from coughing, sneezing, or exhalation of an infected person. As such, it is highly urgent to develop safe, self-sanitized personal protective equipment (PPE) to surmount the problems associated with currently used PPE (googles, gawns and coveralls). The proposed technology is founded on the idea of increasing the surface temperature of protective shields to kill the virus. Based on performed research studies by the National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA, and Princeton University, SARS (a member of the Coronavirus family) is stable over various surfaces for several hours to days. However, it has been proven that the temperature above 65°C can kill or inactivate most of the viruses. Building on this idea, we propose coating the surface of face/protective shields with a transparent conducting polymer. A lightweight, cost-efficient electrical circuit converts the transparent conducting polymer to a heating element to increase the surface temperature above the threshold to kill the virus. At an upgraded version, we offer a smart technology to use a patterned conducting polymer to detect a virus. Of note, the smart polymer layer can be easily coated on the surface of protective shields in manufacturing facilities or on already installed/used protective shields, such as those used by frontline workers and essential service workers. This technology is particularly beneficial in rural and remote communities), where sterilisation facitilites for personal protective equipment is not easily accessible.

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