Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., Director, NIEHS
"With people wearing these new data-collecting devices, researchers will be able to see and understand the relationships between varying levels of air pollutants and individual health responses in real time. This is a big step toward treating and, more importantly, preventing disease and illness."
Imagine how our health could improve if we had access to current air pollution data and timely information about how our body responds to that pollution.
Conscious Clothing, a personal, portable, and wearable air pollution sensor, may be a way that happens in the future.
The developers of the device won the $100,000 grand prize as part of the My Air, My Health Challenge issued by NIEHS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. More than 500 competitors proposed dozens of solutions for sensors that can be easily worn or carried, and take into account a known or plausible link between airborne pollutants and health measurements, such as heart rate and breathing.
David Kuller of AUX, Gabrielle Savage Dockterman of Angel Devil Productions, and Dot Kelly of Shearwater Design won the grand prize for their Conscious Clothing system. It is a wearable breathing analysis tool that calculates the amount of particulate matter a person inhales. The system uses groove strips — stretchy, conductive strips of knitted silver material wrapped around the ribcage — to measure breath volume, and collects and transmits data in real time, via Bluetooth, to any Bluetooth-capable device.
On June 4, 2013, the grand prize was announced at Health Datapalooza in Washington, DC.
In November 2012, four finalists from the original submissions, including the Conscious Clothing team, were selected to receive $15,000 each to develop their proposals into working prototypes:
|Guy Shechter, Ph.D.
Mark Aloia, Ph.D.
Johan Marra, Ph.D.
Ronald Wolf, Ph.D.
from Philips Healthcare
|Andover, Mass.||Linking exposure to ultrafine particulates with exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease through measurement of vital signs and respiratory function.|
|Michael Heimbinder, HabitatMap
Michael Taylor, Carnegie Mellon University
Carlos Restrepo, Ph.D., New York University
George Thurston, Sc.D., New York University
|Brooklyn, N.Y.||Using an integrated system to link exposure to carbon monoxide and fine particulate matter with heart rate variability and blood oxygen levels.|
|Gabrielle Savage Dockterman, Angel Devil Productions
Dot Kelly, Shearwater Design
David Kuller, AUX
|Carlisle, Mass.||Integrating sensors for multiple airborne pollutants with sensors for heart rate, breathing rate, and physical activity into fitness clothing for athletes.|
|Aaron Hechmer||El Cerrito, California||Integrating modular air quality sensors, audio based spirometry, health assessment games, and biomarkers via an infrastructure that promotes sharing of health information.|
In addition, Rajiv Totlani of Frisco, Texas, and Peter Sotory of Raleigh, N.C., were selected as honorable mentions.
- NIEHS news release about the winning submission from Conscious Clothing
- Background about the My Air, My Health Challenge
- On June 19 2012, Challenge organizers held a webinar for interested parties to learn more about the competition, including prize information, evaluation, proposal submission process, and next steps. To view the webinar slides, visit the Challenge registration website
- For NIEHS news releases of the challenge launch and the announcement of the phase 1 finalists, visit our news page
For additional information about the challenge, contact: