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HyGreen - Intelligent Hygiene Sensor web

A novel take on the sensor web has been unveiled by US firm Xhale incorporated, consists of a wireless network of soap dispensers, which contain sensors capable of detecting whether the hand waved under it, has recently been sanitized or not.

The system is an attempt to eliminate contamination problems in hospitals, clinics and food processing plants. It is simple, elegant, and surprising that no-one has thought of it before.

Each dispenser contains an RFID reader that scans for a passive RFID tag worn by the staff member closest to it. No tag, no dispense. The ID tag is used to record the time that the person decontaminated their hands. If they have gone a long time without disinfecting during the regular workday, this will be noted on the system. Since all the dispensers in the building talk to one another, this is hard to talk your way out of.

In addition to the basic function, other functions of the sensor system help the person remember to decontaminate. Should they decontaminate their hands, this process is logged by the system. The time information can also be used by other sensors, such as ones near cooked and raw meat areas in a butcher's for example.

If the sensor in cooked meat, reads the ID of the employee reaching over it, and checks the system to find they sanitised their hands 10 seconds before, all is good. If however, it checks and finds the last recorded movement of the person was not the sanitizer, but the sensor over the raw rabbits, it is going to get a bit upset, and it will trigger an alarm.

This alarm includes sending a signal back to a vibrator attached to the rfid chip of the employee to discretely warn them they are contaminating the produce.

Essentially it is a potential lifesaving idea, both for butchers and for hospitals.


Soap-sniffing technology encourages hand washing to reduce infections, save money


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