TECHNOLOGY that will alert the public to the need to replace their face mask has been unveiled by a Scottish smart packaging company.

Insignia Technologies, based in Motherwell, have designed a smart label to encourage safer mask practice while bringing peace of mind to the public. The label will change colour to indicate when a disposable face mask has reached the end of its recommended lifespan or when a re-usable mask requires to be changed.

Founded in 2012, Insignia Technologies’ smart labels are used across the food and drink sector. It set out on a mission to reduce food waste by developing a label that uses smart pigment technology to change colour over time to show how long a packet of food has been open. When Covid-19 hit, its team redeveloped its label technology so it could be used on face masks.

 The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine has published recommendations on how long a mask should be worn which is between four to six hours. With no strict regulations to ensure that mask wearers are consistently changing their face coverings, Insignia’s label solution intends to create a level of reassurance.

David Kilshaw, the CEO of Insignia Technologies, said: “We want to educate mask users of the importance of following recommended guidelines when it comes to face masks. By including our innovative label technology on masks, we can ensure that PPE is being used responsibly and isn’t being worn for too long, or thrown away too quickly.”

Dr Graham Skinner, product development manager at Insignia Technologies, said: “We modified our labels so that they fit the recommended time frames given for effective mask use. The label sits on the outside of the face mask and changes colour to indicate when the end of the recommended time has been reached, providing an easy to use visual reminder and marker of reassurance.”