Puerto Rico patents a mask with which you can eat without removing it

Researchers from the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) presented this Tuesday the patent of the so-called "Dynamic Facial Mask", designed to ingest food without having to remove it, as a sanitary measure against covid-19.

The patent, which carries the number 11134729 and was granted by the United States Patent and Trade Office, uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology so that, when a person wants to drink or eat, the mask is opened automatically.

As Abe Schwartz explained in a presentation by the director of the Center for Biomedical Innovation – attached to the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the Medical Sciences Campus of the UPR – the process of patenting this prototype started in December 2020, but it was not until October of this year it was approved.

TWO PROTOTYPES WERE TREATED

"We decided to do a group project to see if with this prototype we could go to eat in a group in a safe way. Thus, little by little we had virtual discussions and parameters of the situations to develop the masks"said Schwartz, the owner of at least 30 patents.

The director of the Center for Biomedical Innovation explained that two prototypes were discussed to finalize the patent, the first of which did not work as it did not have RFID technology. The second was successful.

The mask comes with utensils such as forks and spoons that can be sterilized against covid-19 with the idea that businesses can use it and more people can enter restaurants.

Schwartz explained that the attached utensils carry an RFID tag, while the mask has a transponder receiver and a servo-mechanism to open and close an opening that allows eating and drinking without removing or touching it.

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The patent was developed by eight inventors, four of them undergraduate students from three units of the UPR, who participated in the workshops offered by the Center for Biomedical Innovation.

Currently, the group in charge of the patent has developed two prototypes of the mask using three-dimensional printers, demonstrating the feasibility of the invention.

NEXT STEP: YOUR MARKETING

The UPR, in turn, is the owner of the patent, and the Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer, directed by engineer Yahveh Comas Torres, will coordinate the commercialization of the invention.

"This is a significant project for the UPR patent portfolio"said Comas Torres, who mentioned that the main educational institution on the island has 109 patents.

"This patent, in turn, gives us an advantage of commercialization and of generating income to the UPR"added the engineer, who said that in the past four years, the number of patents in the UPR has increased by 30% to its portfolio and an income of $ 110,000.

According to Comas Torres, "Beyond the economic aspect of this patent, it is to see how URP researchers develop novel technology that impacts the world".

"This should not only be measured at an economic level, but also its intellectual impact that it contributes to the community, not only Puerto Rican, but also the hemisphere and the world.", highlighted the engineer, qualifying the invention as "novel, useful and not obvious".

In Puerto Rico, as of this Tuesday and according to data from the Department of Health, 151,827 people have been infected with covid-19 and another 3,234 have died from the virus, while 61 patients are hospitalized.

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