This innovative jacket by Studio Contrechoc uses fans to cool your back and chest area. It’s a humorous response to another piece the studio co-created with designer Marina Toeters called Spine Dress. The dress uses carbon fabric and circuitry to heat up the back area, while the Solar Wind Jacket seeks to have the opposite effect.
One of the most interesting things about the jacket is the design of the fan blades using 3D printing. According to Contrechoc’s Beam van Waardenberg, the fan did not print well as one unit on his particular printer, and instead needed to be created as individual components which were later assembled. Notice that the fans are mounted close to each other, and it became necessary to raise every other fan in order to keep the blades from hitting. This seems to be a simpler solution than having to choreograph the blades of the individual fans.
Another interesting aspect is just the beauty in the design of the jacket. At first glance it appears almost like a kimono jacket, but the sleeves are really inspired by the Middle Ages. So, their wide design allows ample room for hiding Arduino controllers, while the stiffer pieces coming down from the shoulders allow room for hiding batteries. Of course the neon fleece is strictly modern, but it does add a hint about the use of the jacket.
The jacket has different modes of operation to make it easy to demonstrate. It can have all fans moving, or it can activate based on light levels using its light sensor, or temperature levels using a DHT11 temperature/humidity sensor. I think the next step would be to incorporate solar cells and allow the sun to charge the batteries for the fans, although it won’t look as fashionable. Here’s the video for the jacket in action.
Although this jacket is playful, there are definitely more jackets these days being designed with the ability to react to temperature or ability to harvest energy. It’s an exciting area of development, especially for those doing trekking or other serious outdoor work. In the future you may be able to have one or two jackets that can handle multiple conditions. Of course, like any maker, you are probably curious how to get started with motors in your own clothing. You should check out our Arduino Lesson on DC Motors. Once you master incorporating a motor, you can decide what sensor is best for you.
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