NC-170: Personal Protective Equipment

Whether you’re a first responder in a terrorist attack, first receiver in a medical emergency or a pesticide applicator on a farm, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is destined to be a part of your work attire. This technology protects heroes against fire, debris, extreme weather, chemicals/pathogens, and other hazards. Well-designed PPE can also prevent injuries among soldiers who encounter IEDs, small arms, and chemical or biological warfare agents. These workers rely on PPE to do their jobs safely and effectively, thus saving lives and preventing widespread damage.

User feedback and performance tests indicate that PPE currently on the
market has many outstanding issues related to fit, comfort, durability, thermal regulation,
and moisture control. For example, poor fit makes it difficult to use tools, maneuver through small spaces, and move quickly, and poor thermal regulation leads to premature exhaustion, and lack of knowledge prevents users from knowing how to select, use, and maintain PPE.

Over the past five years, NC-170 scientists and designers have made major achievements in materials research, garment design, and user education including:

1. Textiles with attractive properties, such as UV ray protection, moisture, heat, and bacteria control, and the ability to detoxify pathogens and pesticides.

2. Use of advanced tools (including 3D scans) and user feedback to evaluate existing PPE combined with collaboration between labs, designers, and manufacturers worldwide to develop new PPE

3. Scientists from New York, California, Minnesota, Missouri, and Iowa have used data from over 60 interviews and surveys and 250 photographs of body positions to address fit issues for protective coveralls

4. Design sessions and consultations with manufacturers have led to multiple prototypes of disposable protective coveralls with reduced catching and tearing and improved fit and comfort

NC-170 has also worked on Full-Body Space Suit designs for NASA!

Read more here!

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