When it comes to new advances in technology, new devices like smartphones, cameras, and automotive features always take the front stage. These technologies make our lives easier, streamline our work, and help us stay in contact with our friends and family. However, there is a range of new technological advances under the radar that are designed to keep us safe. From electronic tattoos to body armor, here are three new innovations in safety technology that you may not have heard about.
Liquid Body Armor
Kevlar is considered the industry standard for bulletproof vests and is used by military personnel and law enforcement agents nationwide. A new technology under development by the US Army Research Laboratory is seeking to improve Kevlar by integrating a liquid body armor called shear thickening fluid into the material. Like any other fluid, liquid body armor is free-flowing and malleable most of the time. However, when a sudden impact like a bullet hits the material, it becomes rigid, deflecting the impact and protecting the wearer. This material is also light and, when it is in its malleable form, allows the user to have a full range of motion, unrestricted by a heavy or bulky protective vest.
Temporary Electronic Tattoos
Wearable devices like smartwatches are steadily increasing in popularity, especially those that can monitor health statistics like heart rate. Researchers are working on nano-film tattoos that can expand the benefits of these wearable computers. One use case for these tattoos is for monitoring blood alcohol levels. Within the tattoo, the small electronic board analyzes and transfers information about your alcohol levels easily, and without drawing blood. This can help alert users if their blood alcohol level reaches a dangerous level and can even communicate with their smart car to prevent them from driving. Because they are so thin, these tattoos are more resilient than other monitoring technology and are more comfortable, increasing compliance with medical monitoring. For example, another use case for these tattoos is blood glucose monitoring, important for diabetic patients.
Ensuring workplace safety is important for companies to ensure their employees are not only doing the best work they can but are avoiding injury in the process. Wearable technology that leverages the use of the Internet of Things is rapidly expanding in this field. The Internet of Things involves incorporating input sensors and internet access into everyday objects to increase their efficiency or ease of use. One such example is incorporating carbon monoxide sensors into hard hats to ensure that construction site workers are not exposed to dangerous levels of this toxic gas. Another is ergonomically designed chairs and keyboards that are enhanced with technology to monitor their users, helping them maintain proper posture to avoid a repetitive strain injury.
Just a decade ago, many of these safety technologies would have been impossible to develop. As technology advances, so will our ability to use it to better ensure our own safety — and improve the lives of millions across the globe.
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