Smart Bracelet Calls Out Dirty Hands

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Sure there are bathroom signs, but do you ever wonder if your hands were cleaned properly? A new device can call you out on sub-par sessions at the sink.

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A high-tech bracelet made by a startup based in Sarasota, Fla., called IntelligentM tracks what you’re doing and will buzz a certain way if you fail to wash up correctly. The bracelet reads special RFID tags located at sanitation and hand washing stations. It also contains an accelerometer to sense how long the wearer is standing at one of those stations, according to Technology Review’s Susan Young.

The company says its devices are so smart they can sense whether the person washing hands or dispensing sanitizer is following the proper procedures. When the bracelet wearer does everything right, the device will buzz once. Mess it up and the thing will buzz three times.

IntelligentM bracelets were designed to be used by healthcare workers in hospitals as a way to prevent healthcare acquired infections, which are a deadly and extremely expensive problem nationwide. Usually — and I didn’t know this — secret observers monitor hospital workers’ hand washing practices. But that can be expensive and observing someone once a day isn’t always indicative of what’s going on.

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So far the bracelets are being used at a hospital in Sarasota and the startup is hoping to expand to more locations. IntelligentM thinks its technology could be ideal for food service settings, too. As some fast food customers find out the hard way, a stern bathroom sign can only do so much.

Image credits: Corbis (top) and IntelligentM (bottom).

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