Innovation That Matters

Connected shirts change color with air pollution

Work & Lifestyle

Smart clothing company Aerochromics’ line of reactive clothing responds to airborne pollutants by changing color to reveal a pattern.

Wearables are increasingly being incorporated into smart clothing, allowing designers to play with form and function. Bacteria powered breathable clothing provides ventilation, and microchips are becoming small and light enough to be sewn into garments. Envisioning a fully connected world, smart clothing company Aerochromics’ sweatshirts help wearers become more aware of their environment — when pollution is detected, the Aerochromic dye reacts.

The higher the levels of air pollution, the more fully patterned the fabric becomes. The shirts change from completely black to one of three different patterns. There is one design each for carbon monoxide, particulate and radioactivity pollution. The shirts start to change color when the Air Quality Index (AQI) reaches 60, a level considered unsafe. Several cities around the world already have an AQI of more than 160, the level at which the pattern is fully revealed.

Currently priced at USD 500, the startup’s plans for the future include bringing the radioactivity shirt to market and reducing the price as production scales up. How else could smart textiles be used to reveal environmental danger?



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