PEC Computer Professor and Fortis Neurologist team up to innovate a novel Electret Mask against Coronavirus

Dr Divya Bansal, Prof. and Head, Cyber Security Research Centre at PEC and Dr Nishit Sawal, D.M.[Neurology]-AIIMS, Consultant Neurologist, Fortis Mohali have invented a unique face mask against the coronavirus.

The duo, instead of using the filtration principle used in current masks, have invented a mask which is charged on its outer surface. This charge is the same as the charge on the respiratory droplets through which the coronavirus [ and almost all other viruses and bacteria] are transmitted. Since similar charges repel each other, the respiratory droplets are repelled by the charge on the outer surface of the mask as soon as they come in the vicinity of the mask.

The major advantage which this mask has over current N95 masks is that the current N95 masks often leak at the face-mask interface. The effectiveness of N95 masks is most often compromised at the face-mask seal owing to a combination of factors which include different face cuts, skin texture, presence of facial hair [ Moustache and beards]. The ideal mask should be designed for everyone after getting a 3D replica of the face made but this is impossible practically. Also, the presence of even the shortest facial hair can compromise the safety seal of the N95 mask leading to leaks at the   face-mask interface.

Since in this mask, the electric field of the mask extends beyond the physical confines of the mask, the possibility of any leaks occurring at the face-mask interface is eliminated. This makes this electret mask exceedingly useful for doctors and healthcare workers working in contaminated environments.

Dr. Nishit Sawal and Dr. Divya Bansal have filed a patent for this unique mask in Indian Patents office via No-202111044436 and will be granted the patent after the official formalities. Earlier also, the duo along with PEC engineering students and GMCH-32 MBBS had developed a self-sanitizing robot to be used in COVID 19 Contaminated environment.

This novel invention was specifically highlighted and highly praised by Hon’ble President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind Ji, during his visit as the Chief Guest at the PEC Centenary Year Celebrations.

The duo was assisted in this endeavor by multi-disciplinary team comprising of Savina Singla, senior engineering research student from PEC, other B.Tech students and MBBS GMCH-32 students, namely - Hargunbir Singh, Meera Matta, Gurmehar Singh Hundal, Tanish Modi.

The testing of the mask which involved charging and measuring the effective repelling power was done at IIT-Ropar under the aegis of Dr. Chandupatla Chakradhar Reddy of Department of Electrical Engineering and Harshith Azmeera. The team is confident that this mask will be a game-changer in the war against the ever-evolving respiratory pathogens and will provide a new shield to our valiant healthcare workers who put their lives in danger to care for patients suffering from these viruses.

Dr Nishit and Dr Divya also informed that once the patent process is over, they will be commercializing this unique mask for mass production.

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