Protecting Lives
Entrepreneurs are natural problem solvers

Entrepreneurs are natural problem solvers

Eric Ward wears the latest version of his innovative safety vest used for air-quality sampling.
(Photo by John Underwood)

While interning at a manufacturing plant, Purdue environmental health student Eric Ward (BS '12, MS '13) noticed workers duct-taping and clipping their air-quality sampling equipment to their belts. It was a clumsy procedure; the dangling tubes were a hazard, and worse, it led to inconsistent readings.

"I saw a gap there. I knew exactly what was needed," Ward says. His innovation is an all-in-one vest with pockets and channels for the air-sampling gear, as well as Velcro and counter-weights to ensure the garment fits properly.

His vest, called the OneTouch IH, is now carried by SGS, a multinational industrial testing firm — which now employs Ward as a consultant. He's currently completing his PhD in industrial hygiene at Purdue, after which he'll start full time at SGS.

And he's already working the next model. "It's a living vest," he says. "The sensors are integrated and linked with RFID [radio-frequency identification], so you get real-time data." Ward's ideas don't stop there. He envisions an even more streamlined, Google-Glass-like product that will enable users to visualize data as it's happening, such as real-time spikes in contaminants.

"Being in health and safety is like being a detective, a policeman. You figure out what's wrong and you protect people's lives," Ward says.


Back >> Index 
Find Us on Facebook