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    Evolution of Lab Coats - Redesigning for Modern Needs & Wants

    Evolution of Lab Coats - Redesigning for Modern Needs & Wants

    Have you ever thought that it's time to give up on the mundane looking white lab coats for something more modern and appealing? Well, protective clothing in its primitive form is as old as the human existence.

    By the end of the 19th century, lab coats gained immense popularity, but this was not just because of scientist. Doctors used to wear black at that time as it matched the serious nature of their job. Moreover, it also had the ability to camouflage stains and dirt. However, the credit goes to Joseph Lister who brought forward the concept of antisepsis. Thus, the use of black lab coats became obsolete and white lab coats became popular as they symbolized trust, cleanliness and innocence. Moreover, it was and is still considered to be the cheapest color out there.

    Today, lab coats have become a symbol of learning. Today, the lab coat gives an impression of authority and knowledge in the eyes of the masses. It also has a strong psychological impact as a study indicated that those who wore a lab coat regardless of them being doctors or not got better scores in a cognitive test. However, the design of lab coats has not changed over the passage of time. While this could be that there is perfection in simplicity, or science has failed to evolve over the passage of time. So, if the lab coat was redesigned today, how would it be essentially done?

    Redesigning the Look

    In the future, smart textile powered by technology is the way forward. For instance, in the future, people who are bedridden will not get sores despite of lying at the same spot as the health will be improved by measuring the ions within their perspiration.

    Many scientists are now working on smart textiles which change color that could serve as a warning for the changes in the environment. This is similar to a pH paper litmus test. Now, you can apply this concept to a bandage and washcloth. The fabric will be able to detect any hazardous spill by changing its color, or the presence of a poisonous gas ensuring the safety of the wearer or the people around them. It is believed that color coding will be simple for any layman to understand such as red for harmful or hazardous, whereas green for safe or environment friendly.

    One Size Is Simply Not For All

    Mr. Wangtrakuldee, a chemist based in Philadelphia, United States narrated an incurred that incurred, stating 'I was following the proper dress code: covered from the neck down, closed tip shoes and a lab coat. But the methanol went through my lab coat, through my pants and burned my leg.' This incident indicates that the safety apparel any institute or company provides to its staff does not generally protect them from the harmful substance they are working with.

    The lab coats used in the industry are generally made up of polyester, where a lot of chemist work with chemicals that can easily penetrate through the fabric and cause damage.

    Due to the economics that come in play, most employers invest in those lab coats that are neither chemical nor fire resistant. However, what they don't realize is that their cost-cutting could cost a life. While there is better and safer fabric available, companies do not weigh up the advantages of spending on better quality lab coats that could simply safe lives and prevent major accidental damage.

    Another aspect that needs to be discussed is that most lab coats are designed for men. The stock lab coats are generally purchased whilst keeping the masculine frame in mind and are thus handed down to employees over the years. Since they are boxy, they are not adaptable to all sizes and shapes.

    While employers often dismiss aesthetics and comfort, they are still extremely important for men and women both. It needs to be understood that aesthetic affect functionality. Often when you wear boxy lab coats, the fabric of sleeves gets into the way of working. Thus, one option is to alter them or simply wear an ill-fitting medical uniform that affects function.

    In general, people want to wear those medical lab coats that give them a feeling of comfort without altering their style quotient. For instance, if an employer provides lab coats that don't fit well on women, are big, long sleeved or bulk, it restricts your ability to perform well. Moreover, there is a high probability that you may not wear it. This ultimately results in a lot of unreported accidents.

    It Is Meant To Stay

    The truth is that lab coats are stubborn and are meant to stay. Considering the norm of the industry, the changes are also slow. However, it is high time to consider style and performance by incorporating science and technology to embrace the much needed change.