The coronavirus COVID-19 has affected 199 countries with over 720,000 confirmed cases and 34,000 deaths (as of 30th March 2020, Worldometer) and has led to an unprecedented strain on global health systems, with likely major, long-term implications for the economy. Although the immediate and most urgent impact of COVID-19 is physical, another severe and potentially longer-lasting impact is psychological.

For SARs-CoV, PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) masks give around 80% protection to medical staff (evidence suggests that use of an FFP3 respirator or a surgical face mask offered a similar level of protection, both associated with up to an 80% reduction in the risk of infection (1,2)).  Even if there were adequate supplies of masks, the protection offered stills fall short. However, there is a solution that could possibly reduce the risk of infection which would be hugely beneficial for healthcare workers and the general public. The solution is eScent.

 

eScent is a data-driven, voice-sensitive liquid dispense platform intended for connected garments, jewellery and other wearable items, offering “personalized scent” as a self-delivery intervention for mental distress and/or other health applications. This context-responsive wearable dispenser is a transformative technology that releases the appropriate “bio-synchronized” fragrance in response to different personal emotional and environmental triggers (e.g., hormonal excretions, temperature, voice).

 

eScent combines sensory, aroma and medical work with sophisticated mathematics and technology. The objective is to reduce droplet transmission whilst also providing an intelligent protective barrier against disease and viruses. It is a small wearable device that interfaces with tracking devices and biometric sensors to form the basis for a new behaviour change platform technology in response to individual and environmental triggers. eScent works by sending a targeted personalizable “scent bubble” to the user’s nose in real-time, combining sensing and dispensing aromatics or other liquids for multiple health benefits.

 

The controlled release of an anti-viral agent from a smart dispenser embedded in a facemask or visor could offer a substantial technological breakthrough for the Covid-19 pandemic and next-generation PPE, and one which could bring with it considerable opportunities for health care, health and wellbeing.  Inspired by the  Plague Doctors  “long nose mask’ that were filled with aromatic herbs to keep the plague at bay (3), eScent aims to make the modern surgical mask more effective.

The patented innovation presented herein has the capability to establish and maintain a localized “sphere” of detectible levels of scent (or other liquid) dependent upon user-context and/or environment, dispensed from a voice-assistive wearable scent delivery systems. Using data from the mask, machine learning technology would be able to personalize treatment and care such that well-being fragrances and anti-viral substances can be delivered once an AI system has detected an increase in stress or other changes in the local environment. 

 

With the right partners and investment, eScent could be deployed as a future facemask and visor that clinicians can wear as a virus deterrent/prevention “bubble” to curb the spread of viruses and to reduce the impact of psychological trauma. 

 

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  1. Offeddu V, Yung, CF, Low MSF, et al. Effectiveness of Masks and Respirators Against Respiratory Infections in Healthcare Workers: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Infectious Diseases 2017;65:1934-1942

  2. Loeb, M., McGeer, A., Henry, B., Ofner et al. SARS among critical care nurses, Toronto. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2004;10 (2): 251-255

  3. "Thieves Oil"; a blend of essential oils including cloves, cinnamon, rosemary, lemon and eucalyptus oil. 

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