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Smart Threads

Hospital uniforms with smart threads that react when in contact with specified bacterias and keep track of health workers wellbeing.

Photo of Silvana Zaldivar
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Smart Threads

What if we developed special clothing for healthcare workers that could protect them from potential infections and allow them to better track and  understand their personal health.

Taking inspiration from Google's Jacquard threads (video below), we could develop a smart textile that could react when in contact with specified bacterias. This would notify workers and allow them to take appropriate measures.

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Additionally, the textile could track the workers health and wellbeing, allowing hospitals to better manage their employees and prevent burnouts during health crisis. One thing to consider is that many of the workers might not have access to smartphones, which is why the data should not only be tied to a phone app, but also to a platform which could be available through a computer to all employees. Since the data is personal, each employee would have their own log-in and it would be up to them to give the hospital access to their data.


The government of each country could distribute these smart clothes to all healthcare workers. The idea is that it would substitute traditional uniforms and although the fabric will have technology embedded, users would wash them just like they wash any other clothing.  

Lastly, because of the endless possibilities of textile, the product could take any shape or form to adapt to the needs of any crisis, for example, during a SARS outbreak, the textile could be used to create masks instead of uniforms. This product could potentially target other markets beyond healthcare workers. It could become a fashion line that is available to the general public or something that is a part of an emergency kit.

Do you plan to apply for USAID’s Grand Challenge for funding?

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Photo of Rosen Petkov

I like this idea because of its simplicity. I think it's a realistic approach and one that can be provided to nurses and doctors as a start.

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