SmartPPE: Developing 21st Century Protective Equipment

  • Institution Country: Switzerland
  • Implementation Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Sector: Health
  • Funding Stage: Proof of Concept

Unique and Innovative Protective Equipment to Empower Healthcare Workers Treating Ebola

By École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Frontline and healthcare workers fighting Ebola in the conflict affected areas of North Kivu and Ituri in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are not well-equipped with proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for their working conditions. Typical issues faced by healthcare workers in their daily work with current personal protective equipment includes overheating and exhaustion while working, self-contamination during the critical undressing procedure, lack of human and empathic relationship with patients. Such PPE is inappropriate for the demanding conditions faced in tropical climates. Populations affected by conflict already live in a state of fear, and the current ‘astronaut’ suits currently worn by healthcare workers reinforce the state, making it challenging for healthcare providers and communities to build empathetic and trusting relationships.


SmartPPE is the world’s first single piece, ventilated, and reusable personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers. The integrated ventilation system prevents the buildup of excessive heat, humidity and fogging inside the PPE, thus reducing exhaustion, extending working shifts, and creating a more visible, human interaction with patients.