© Osmotex

If there is one thing that the coronavirus has imprinted on us with forever, it is that we are wearing face masks en masse. Face coverings come in all models, types, and designs, and most of them are meant to last only a few hours. After that, they get thrown out with the trash. Before long though, there will be a face mask on the market that sterilizes itself by eliminating viruses and bacteria. All this, thanks to the osmosis technique.

Osmosis textiles are already being used in various industries because the compounds have an active antiviral and antibacterial effect on their surfaces.

In osmosis, substances that have been dissolved in a liquid flow through a semi-permeable membrane, which allows the liquid to pass through but not the dissolved substances. The process stimulates the controlled interaction of moisture and electrical pulses, which in this case contain the highly disinfectant compounds ozone and hydrogen peroxide.

Mini control box with rechargeable battery

This in itself is not new. Various industries, including the medical sector, use ‘osmosis textiles’ (as they are called for simplicity’s sake) because the compounds have an active antiviral and antibacterial effect on surfaces. In short, osmosis is a very handy sterilization process.

A face mask that has that effect and is simultaneously convenient and practical is a first and is being marketed by the Swiss company Osmotex. The face mask concerned is made of osmosis textile, which the company calls the Osmotex Sterilizer, It has also incorporated an N95 filter. A textile cable connects the inside of the mask to a mini control box equipped with a rechargeable battery.

It is not quite as ‘medical’ as it sounds, also because the first model is stylishly designed and comes in black. The wire leads from underneath the chin to a little apparatus that is placed in e.g. a shirt pocket. For future models, the control box will be integrated into the back of a strap worn on the head, much like a headlamp.

Face mask for long-term use

The Osmotex Sterilizer, as the company claims, kills 99.999 percent of all viruses and 100 percent of bacteria within a few minutes. A scientific test report from Pfützner Science & Health Institute in Mainz, Germany, has substantiated the claim. The osmosis technology is harmless to humans and the effect is immediate and more effective than other passive technologies, whereby it sometimes takes hours before a surface is sterilized. No other chemicals are added and the technology is environmentally friendly. The ‘Osmo mask’ is certainly sustainable, because it is intended for long-term use.

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Osmotex face mask set

The Osmokapje is not available on the market yet, even though it can be manufactured at any time. It is first awaiting funding to the tune of two hundred euros to cover the costs of setting up mass production. Osmotex has set up a crowdfunding campaign to reach this. If all goes well, production can start in January.

Osmotex is collaborating with Topa Konfektions, a Swiss textile company specializing in high-tech textiles, and has engaged the renowned Zürich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) to carry out laboratory tests and an independent evaluation.

You can leave meticulousness (Gründlichkeit) and a sense of propriety in the hands of the Swiss.

Read more about another application for ‘omosis textiles’ (in ski wear) here.

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About the author

Ewout Kieckens is a Dutch journalist in Rome who writes about Italian lifestyle and culture. He has written books on diverse subjects such as the Vatican and Italian women. He is very interested in innovations, especially Italian contribution to progress.