Israeli researchers have developed a prototype face mask which can clean itself using electricity provided by a phone charger.
According to the Telegraph, the mask, developed by researchers at Technion’s Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering, uses an internal carbon fibre layer to destroy pathogens such as coronavirus which may accumulate on it.
The carbon fibre layer is heated using an electrical current which can be provided by a common smartphone charging cable.
Researchers have filed a patent application for the device in the United States and hope to make it commercially available for the price of around $1.
A spokesperson for the university did not respond when asked if the mask would be available in the UK and Europe in the future.
Standard disposable masks are designed to be used once, and then discarded once they are worn out or become wet.
The development of new types of reusable masks could help reduce the environmental impact of a large increase in the use of disposable masks during the pandemic.
Gary Stokes, director of the OceansAsia ocean conservation group, warned that the discarded masks would create a “substantial” amount of ocean pollution.
The development of the self-cleaning mask comes after another Israeli inventor revealed a prototype of a separate facial mask that includes a remote-controlled mouth.
Avtipus patents and inventions designed the mask to include an opening that can open and close to allow people to eat in restaurants without removing their face masks.