Technology that will alert users to the need to replace their face mask has been unveiled by smart packaging company, Insignia Technologies.
Designed to encourage safer mask practice while bringing peace of mind to the public, Insignia’s smart label changes colour to indicate when a disposable face mask has reached the end of its recommended lifespan or when a re-usable mask requires to be changed.
As COVID-19 cases rise in countries around the world, face masks are now part of everyday life, with requirements in place for people to wear them in public spaces including onboard aircraft. However, little attention has been given to whether people are changing their masks regularly enough.
Whilst the recommended maximum time to wear a mask is dependent upon a number of factors, The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine has published its recommendation – typically between four to six hours – alongside recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Public Health England (PHE).
Face masks and coverings are now a mandatory part of travel, with many airlines requiring passengers to wears masks during flights and when in airports. Despite major carriers such as British Airways requesting that passengers change their mask every four hours, there is little regulation in place to monitor compliance and ensure both airlines and travellers are wearing masks that are still safe for use.
Insignia’s solution provides an additional level of reassurance to both passengers and flight attendants, reminding mask wearers to change their masks regularly and ensuring that the safety of all parties remains the top priority.
Founded in 2012, Insignia Technologies’ smart labels are used across the food and drink sector. With an estimated 18 million tonnes of edible food sent to landfill in the UK each year, Insignia set out on a mission to reduce food waste by developing a label that uses smart pigment technology to change colour over time to show how long a packet of food has been open.
When COVID-19 hit the UK, Insignia’s team of scientists redeveloped its label technology so that it could be suitable for application on face masks.
Dr Graham Skinner, Product Development Manager at Insignia Technologies, said: “We modified our labels so that they fit the recommended time frames given for effective mask use. The label sits on the outside of the face mask and changes colour to indicate when the end of the recommended time has been reached, providing an easy to use visual reminder and marker of reassurance.”
David Kilshaw, CEO of Insignia Technologies, said: “We want to educate mask users of the importance of following recommended guidelines when it comes to face masks. The travel industry has been heavily impacted by COVID-19, and now passengers and crew are required to wear masks in airports and for the duration of their flight. With these requests in place, it’s important that both passengers and airline workers remember to change their masks regularly to ensure they continue to practice safe mask use. By including our innovative label technology on masks, we can ensure that PPE is being used responsibly and isn’t being worn for too long, or thrown away too quickly.”