Texas A&M System helps develop new COVID-19 breathalyzer kiosk

Researchers are currently working to obtain FDA emergency use authorization before beginning mass production early next year.

HOUSTON — At Texas A&M University, researchers are working on a way to get us all back to normal. 

“Most Americans don’t have COVID-19, but we’re treating ourselves like we do,” said Rob Gorham, executive director of the Secure America Institute at Texas A&M University. “The end objective is to rapidly detect and help determine folks don’t have COVID.”

Worlds Inc., the U.S. Air Force and Texas A&M teamed up to develop these breathalyzer kiosks.

“You literally breathe into the device,” said Gorham. 

You can use something as simple as a straw. There’s no contact required. The device uses artificial intelligence to analyze that breath for signs of the virus. A result is sent to your phone within seconds. The copper inlet heats itself between each use to clean and sanitize the device. 

“You need to be able to walk up to it, within a second or two or three be notified you’re clear to go in and when you do go in, know you can interact in a confident way with everyone in the room,” said Gorham. “It’s going to be a game changer for industry that exists.”

The prototypes are set up on campus right now to test students and others. Aggies will be tested on the kiosk and using traditional PCR tests to ensure the upmost accuracy. 

“We’re getting in many cases what we believe to be even more accurate results than the traditional test,” said Gorham. 

Worlds Inc. is working with the FDA to secure emergency use authorization. That would pave the way for mass producing the kiosks as soon as March 2021 and be an even more efficient testing option. 

“Anywhere that people have to gather, this is the perfect solution in today’s COVID-19 environment to allow us to get back to normalcy,” said Gorham.

Researchers tell KHOU 11 News the demand is already high. 

“The trick is going to be to match enthusiasm with the production rate available,” said Gorham. “Supply and demand will tell us a lot in the next few weeks.”

It’s promising new technology that researchers believe can help us stay protected through this pandemic and other future virus outbreaks.


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