The Loh Down On Science

A handy new way to handle toxic substances

Fraunhofer EMFT

The sensor glove turns blue in the presence of hazardous substances.

Here’s a solution for handling toxic materials that fits like a glove!
 
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

See, workers who produce semiconductors or certain chemicals often come into contact with harmful substances.  And many times, humans can't sense these toxins.

So to protect workers, companies use sensitive measuring equipment or special cameras.  But soon they may have a more hands-on tool:  A glove that recognizes toxic substances in the air! 

It's the invention of Sabine Trupp and her team at Germany's Fraunhofer Research Institute.  When their glove senses toxins, it changes from colorless to blue.  How?  Through a chemical reaction between indicator dyes in the material and the particular toxin nearby. 

The sensor dyes can easily be applied to the gloves.  The problem, Trupp says, is matching the right dye to the right toxin.  And, to be really useful, the dyes shouldn't come off in the wash.

Still, after coming up with this glove, I’d say the researchers deserve a big hand!  Sorry!

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