Covid-19: Clip-on gadget detects virus particles around you

The wearable gadget yet to be commercialized, will alert wearers when they are exposed to high levels of the virus in their surroundings.

Scientists have developed a tiny clip-on device that can detect if its wearer is exposed to the coronavirus. The wearable gadget samples the air in the wearer’s immediate surroundings and alerts them when they’ve been exposed to the virus.

The Fresh Air Clip

The device picks up particles that have been coughed and sneezed into the air, and then it assesses if Covid-19 is airborne.

Although not yet up for sale, scientists at Yale University who developed this gadget believe it would help in tracking virus hotspots in public and indoor spaces.

The study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters says:

Exhaled respiratory droplets and aerosols can carry infectious viruses and are an important mode of transmission for Covid-19. Recent studies have been successful in detecting airborne Covid-19 RNA in indoor settings using active sampling methods.

The device named, Fresh Air Clip, is cheap, small, and light in weight and does not need a power source. This, the scientists consider, an advantage over the existing methods of determining virus exposure.

The cost, size, and maintenance of these samplers, however, limit their long-term monitoring ability in high-risk transmission areas . Integration of passive samplers into wearable designs can be used to better understand personal exposure to the respiratory virus.

Expansion Efforts

Tests show that not only is the device good at detecting high viral loads, but it also works well for much lower levels, at sub-infectious doses.

At present, the device has to be sent to a laboratory to determine whether the wearer has been in an infectious area, but the researchers hope to be able to upgrade it to offer real time assessments.

Krystal Pollitt, of Yale University, told i:

We would like to expand use of the clip and are exploring how best to scale application in workplaces, schools, and with community members.
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