Great news, everyone: researchers at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology have really outdone themselves this time, coming up with a single solution to two of mankind’s most pressing problems: Covid-19 and bad hair days.
Their recent innovation involves an invisible air screen that protects the eyes, nose and mouth from viruses such as Covid, MERS and influenza by blocking aerosols (remember that dreaded word?) produced when people speak, large droplets produced by coughing and sneezing and even the quiescent aerosol-laden air that hangs out in front of our faces in general.
Not only is all this nastiness blocked without having to whip out environmentally hazardous facemasks each time we leave the house, but the air screen also allows us to communicate properly without covering half our faces.
What it does cover, thankfully, is bad hair, situated as it is atop the visor of a cap.
The research, led by Prof. Moshe Shoham and Prof. David Greenblatt from the Technion’s mechanical engineering faculty, was recently published in the journal Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science.
The researchers noted that pilot studies and interviews conducted with people who really do need to show their faces and see others’ faces in their daily communication – think elderly people and caregivers in nursing homes, professors and students, physiotherapists and psychologists – showed the advantages of the invisible air screen over the commonly used facemasks.
Traditional facemasks, the Technion reminds us, are associated with reduced facial identification and emotional recognition that adversely affect oral communication, as well as with headaches, skin problems and reduced attention and patience in a wide range of professions.
Mountains of disposable facemask garbage, it notes, are also an issue (and we would add two additional problems in the form of “facemask breath” and the irritating sight of people who wear facemasks on their chins).
The Technion recently licensed the technology to a new startup called Wisdome Wearables, which is in the process of seeking partners and commercializing the product.