The company said it has been given a grant to develop tiny sensors that can detect the presence of COVID-19 on a variety of surfaces, including computer screens and cell phones in an effort to help prevent the spread of the virus.
"One of the first lines of defense against any virus is avoiding exposure, which is easier said than done when you can’t see it," Radislav Potyrailo, a principal scientist at GE Research, said in a statement. "Through our project with the NIH, we are developing a sensor small enough to embed in a mobile device that could detect the presence of the COVID-19 virus."
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The company said the sensors are "smaller than a fingertip," and can be programmed to detect the presence of other items of concern as well, without getting thrown off track by unrelated particles that may be present.
GE has previously employed its technology to help the U.S. battle the pandemic.
Last year, GE and Ford Motor Co. signed a contract to produce 50,000 ventilators under the Defense Production Act, at a time when cases were surging and hospital capacity and resources were stretched thin.
Scientists at the company are also mapping individual cells from lung tissue from patients who have died from COVID-19 in order to help better understand who the virus infects and affects the body.