Skip to main content

Smart Clothes—A Wearable Air Quality Sensor

Posted on by

Man wearing the device adjacent to the logo of the My Air My Health Challenge

Caption: The prize winning pollution sensor
Credit: Conscious Clothing

America is waking up to the importance of a healthy lifestyle.  But while what you eat is important, what you breathe in matters, too. As you’re biking, running, or walking in the city—or anywhere for that matter—you’re inhaling car exhaust and other air pollution. Have you ever wondered how many lung-irritating particles you’re inhaling? And what effect air quality has on your health?

To address these questions, NIH, with the Department of Health and Human Services (our parent agency) and the Environmental Protection Agency, issued a challenge: the “My Air, My Health” challenge.

Applicants designed wearable, real-time, location-specific air pollution sensors that measure and link to an individual’s physiological data—including how deep your breathing is—and then transmit the info to a central data repository.

Close up of the device peering out of clothing

Caption: Close-up of the sensor. Developed by David Kuller (AUX), Gabrielle Savage Dockterman (Angel Devil Productions), and Dot Kelly (Shearwater Design).
Credit: Angel Devil Productions

Conscious Clothing, the group that created the sensor you see in the pictures, won the $100,000 grand prize—which was presented to them at the recent Health Datapalooza here in Washington, D.C. Their device is a very cool gizmo that allows you to track your breathing and the quality of the air around you. It also enables researchers to assess the presence of various airborne pollutants in real time—and determine their impact on health.


Conscious Clothing: watch the demo of the prototype

Health Datapalooza IV

My Air, My Health Challenge

NIH support: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences