Can your hands pass the sniff test?
Outliers: Sniffing out dirty hands
That's what four University of Florida inventors want to know.
Richard Melker, an anesthesiology professor at the university's medical college, his department co-workers Donn Dennis and Nikolaus Gravenstein, and engineering college professor Christopher Batich have created a hand-sanitizing detector capable of sniffing out whether hospital employees have washed their hands before interacting with patients. The gadget uses the same sensor technology used by breathalyzers, which detect drugs and alcohol, to detect sanitizers or soap fumes on hands.
The experimental gadget, called HyGreen, is currently being tested in the neuro-intensive-care unit at Shands at the University of Florida. To use the system, healthcare workers sanitize or wash their hands then pass them under a wall-mounted sensor. A signal from a wireless badge worn by the worker activates a green light on the handwashing sensor.
When the worker enters a patient room, a monitor near the bed detects the status of the badge and flashes green if the worker has clean hands. If the worker forgot to wash or if too much time has passed between washings, the badge vibrates as a reminder to sanitize.
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