Vest can detect, protect from threats

A prototype vest design by Industrial design students at Emily Carr University of Art + Design contains sensors that display information about potential biothreats in the air and provides a built in face mask.

The Detectair soft vest, designed by Genevieve Mateyko and Pamela Troyer, can detect the ambient air quality around the wearer and display data on the vest itself through a pattern of LEDs, which are embedded across the chest.

The LEDs are used to visualize the quality of air that the wearer is encountering based upon the detected toxicity level. The wearer is then alerted by small vibration sensors within the vest upon entering into dangerous or unhealthy environments.

When encountering potentially dangerous environments, the vest's oversized collar can function as a protective mechanism much like a medical mask, shielding the vest wearer's face and mouth by allow the collar to be pulled over the neck and face.

The design project, some believe, could be a boon to those faced with potential bioterror situations by allowing their own garments to alert them of the presence of anthrax, sarin gas or even nuclear fallout.

The small, lightweight vest would also allow first responders to be alerted quickly of danger at all times without needing to check handheld devices as the garment itself would warn them.