Researchers have developed a unique batteryless and wireless device that can detect within no time coronavirus in the air if your surroundings contain Covid-19 particles or droplets the moment they enter the vicinity.

The device, which requires no batteries, employs a magnetostrictive clad plate composed of iron, cobalt, and nickel, generating power via alternative magnetization caused by vibration.

The vibration resonance frequency of the ‘Fe-Co/Ni’ plates, which were coated with the receptor protein coronaviruses use to enter our cells, changes when the virus is absorbed, alluding to Covid-19 particles being in the air, said the team from Tohoku University in Japan.

“We know that resonance frequency changes when the weight of a magnetostrictive material change, but we set out to answer whether this is also the case when a virus is absorbed and if this absorption is detectable,” said Fumio Narita, co-author of the study and professor at Tohoku University’s Graduate School of Environmental Studies.

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To answer these questions, the group created the bio-recognition layer, choosing to focus on human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E) – one of the seven types of coronavirus that affects humans.

They immersed the clad plate in a CD13 protein solution and performed sensing experiments.

When the coated clad plate was subjected to bending vibration, the resonance frequency decreased after HCoV-229 was absorbed, verifying whether the charged power could transmit virus detection as a signal.

“We were able to confirm that the magnetostrictive composite material can detect the virus and transmit this detection data using power generated by itself,” said Narita.

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“The self-sustaining nature of the device renders it possible to link it to IoT technologies in the future, something not capable with current biosensors,” the researchers said in a paper published in the journal ‘Sensors and Actuators A Physical’.

The device could be used on other pathogens with modifications to the bio-recognition layer.

“In the future, we hope to further develop our device and see if it applies to other viruses, such as MERS, SARS, and COVID-19,” said Narita.