UC San Diego research team developing a face-mask sensor that detects COVID-19

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UC San Diego’s School of Engineering is developing a face-mask sensor that could detect the COVID-19 virus in your breath.

The USSD team was awarded $1.3 million toward research and development of the sensors with prototypes for approval this summer and could be ready to use by the end of 2021. The team says they would cost about $1 a piece.

“Just imagine you would have a roll of stickers. And as you head out in the day you put one of these on, you would breathe through it. And at the end of the day you click a little blister pack and if the liquid changes colors that means you need to take some more action," UCSD Nano Engineering professor Jesse V. Jokerst, PhD explained to NBC San Diego.

The sensor would similarly to a smoke detector, Jokerst says. They are able to detect the virus from particles in your breath and saliva.

"if everyone had this sticker available and could test every day and it would more quickly stem these outbreaks and more quickly direct you to testing," said Jokerst.