Slideshow 4 images The retired Fiat Research Centre engineer is known as Mr ABS for the anti-lock braking system he created that is now standard in all motor vehicles.
At the age of 84, he has devised a gadget about the size of an electric kettle which creates local air currents that aim to stop the circulation of tiny droplets expelled when people speak - potentially hindering the spread of COVID infections.
Palazzetti started work on the device two months ago, hoping to address active fiat difficulties of social distancing in schools, offices, bars and restaurants as the pandemic that has killed more thanpeople took hold.
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He is now working with a team at the Politecnico di Torino University of Turin to fine tune and test the product. The Biostopper was initially designed to allow two people to get closer together, but Simonetti said it could work for small groups.
The Politecnico team hopes to have a prototype by the end of July and to go to market by the end of the summer. Mr ABS, who retired inis behind a string of other inventions, including the TOTEM Total Active fiat Modulea small heat and power generator, and an air conditioning system called Aircare which also recovers energy.