Smart PPE

An appropriate protective equipment against emerging viruses


The 2013-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa showed amongst other things how much currently available protection equipment is inappropriate in the context of Ebola case management centers. Local health care workers as well as staff from international relief agencies have had to improvise quick fixes and manage with whatever was available.

This lack of appropriate equipment prevents preparedness against the virus and hampers the enforcement of infection prevention and control guidelines. The lack of standardized material and procedures also increases the risk of improper handling and of self-contamination for health care workers.


World Health Organization

The Project

The objective is to develop a PPE that is:


Contrarily to most of the equipment used during the 2013-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, our aim is to design a reusable solution. This reduces dramatically the total cost of ownership of such PPE by reducing transport and storage costs. It also reduces the amount of infectious waste that must be disposed of.


The suit is a single-piece garment, integrating full-body, head and face protection, in order to provide a more efficient protection and simplify dressing and undressing procedures.


A ventilation system is a big challenge to use and maintain in the targeted context of tropical climates in potentially remote rural areas. This is why the system we are designing will be particularly robust, requiring no maintenance, and powerful enough to keep healthcare workers at a comfortable temperature even during their most tiring duties.

Key Achievements


User testing and pilot trials on the field.


Improvement of the design and better understanding of the constraints relative to reusability of the PPE.


External financial support for the development of an innovative ventilation system. Partnership with 2 private companies; 1st prototype of the ventilation system.


First prototype of an integrated and  reusable suit using off-the-shelf compenents.

 Premier prototype de tenue réutilisable et intégrée, mais fonctionnant avec une ventilation “standard/off-the-shelf/du commerce”


Project launch, during Ebola crisis in western Africa.

Current Smart PPE

©Alain Herzog/EPFL 2016

Academic Partners




Prof. Yves Perriard