Greek-French Architect Designs Multipurpose Life Jacket for Refugees and Migrants

Migrants arriving on the shores of Greece’s Lesvos Island in 2016. Credit:

A young Greek-French architect has recently developed a new, innovative life jacket which could help refugees and migrants in many ways while they make their way over the Mediterranean to find a better life in Europe.

The project, dubbed the ”Live Jacket,” received its inspiration from the millions of people who have reached the European shores in Greece, Italy, Spain and other southern EU countries since 2014.

All these refugees and migrants, in their effort to reach the shore, needed life jackets, they had to communicate and they needed to be seen or heard by the rescuers who were trying to save them when their boats were sinking.

Laura-India Garrinois, whose mother is Greek, realized that refugees were using their mobile phones to communicate, to navigate, and just to survive.

”No technology can give refugees everything they need, but it can play an important role in making those journeys less precarious by helping them stay connected, as well as having access to reliable and updated information,” Garrinois notes on her website.

As she explains, ”Using recycled material from life jackets, the ”Live Jacket” responds to basic needs for refugees while providing them with a digital platform. It transforms from a life jacket, to a regular jacket, to a sleeping unit, and aggregates into varying architectural forms by connecting the units and inflating them along the hexagonal seams.”

The innovative idea used as a basic principle the fact that technology can be embedded into clothes, transforming the jacket into an autonomous Wi-Fi shelter, an electrical hub, and even a rudimentary habitation.

The jacket can also be transformed into a wide variety of useful tools once the refugees are safe on land.

It can also be made into a blanket, a sleeping bag, a pillow or even a seat.

This innovation could prove life-saving for thousands of desperate people who are trying to find safety from the terrible wars in Syria or elsewhere, or trying to better their lives economically by migrating to Europe.