Detectair: an Eco-Wearable that Detects Air Quality


A soft vest with an oversized collar, Detectair senses, alerts and protects wearers from environmental toxins in the atmosphere.

Designed by Industrial design students Genevieve Mateyko and Pamela Troyer at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, the vest contains sensors that detect the ambient air quality and displays the data on the garment itself by illuminating a pattern of embedded LEDs across the chest.

The LEDs visualize an individual's quality of breathing based on the toxicity levels in the air. Small vibrators alert the wearer when they have entered into a dangerous and unhealthy environment.

My favorite part of the wearable is the collar itself that functions as a protective mechanism akin to a medical/dust mask. In an unhealthy atmosphere, the wearer can shield her face/mouth by pulling the collar around the neck and face.

Process photo of garment design

What would be even more remarkable would be if the garment itself was made from smart fabrics that were able to filter and purify the air.

Process photo of garment design

Overall, the project is a brilliant example of an eco-wearable that has taken a holistic approach to designing for the problem of protection against environmental pollution: the garment provides the wearer both detection and protection against environmental hazards.

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Comment by Elizabeth Souder on March 18, 2010 at 11:25am
This is so cool! I blogged it:
Sort of reminds me of the badges you have to wear when you visit a nuclear power plant. Sometimes everybody has a badge, sometimes only one person in the group wears it. If the group enters an area with too much radiation, the badge changes color, and people know to leave.
Anyhow, have you considered marketing this to people who live in neighborhoods with a lot of natural gas drilling? Benzene is a big deal for those folks.
Comment by meg on February 4, 2010 at 7:16am
so does it start warning you when you smoke? ;)
i was also curious about the LEDs. i like the way you positioned them along the lung branches. do the deeper LEDs light up with higher levels of pollutants or do they all light up at once?
Comment by Angela Sheehan on February 4, 2010 at 4:18am
Have you shot any video of the project, I would love to see how the lights alert you - is there a pattern or twinkle effect?
Comment by Genevieve Mateyko on February 3, 2010 at 2:07pm
Alcohol, benzene, carbon dioxide, ammonia, nitrogen oxide - the most common urban air pollutants (and all are found in cigarette smoke!)
Comment by meg on February 3, 2010 at 7:46am
awesome! what kind of impurities/toxins does it detect?
Comment by helena loermans on February 3, 2010 at 4:08am
......can try to weave the fabric by hand.....
Once thought about weaving curtains that can filter the air.......
Comment by Pamela on February 2, 2010 at 11:20am
I think eco fabrics would have made a lot of sense. We definitely thought of implementing a filter in the collar but why not into the entire garment? Now that we understand the technology, fine tuning the conceptual aspects of the project will become easier and easier.

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