Since I’m just coming off NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge, I was psyched to find out that spacesuits are actually being designed in Brooklyn. According to NYMag, Final Frontier Design is creating suits that perform better with a price tag of $65,000. The team behind the suits is Ted Southern and Nikolay Moiseev, which rang a bell to me. I remembered a space glove project that was on display in some vacuum chamber at Eyebeam a few years ago, and it turns out, it was done by Ted. So, it looks like another wearable tech success story for New York. Here’s the background.
Southern, an artist and designer who began his career working on technical costumes for movies and theater, and Moiseev, who spent 20 years working for the Russian space-suit company Zvezda, got their start after winning a NASA challenge to design an astronaut glove — their model outperformed NASA’s technology. Now they describe their company as “a private design firm crafting aerospace safety garments for the future of space travel.”
Part of the success of the new suit is using 3D printing to create cost effective buckles. Other benefits include an easier-to-use helmet, lighter fabrics and improved flexibility on joint areas. The article talks about the process being used at their workshop on a costume for Cirque du Soleil.
I watched as he cut a pattern out of nylon similar to one used in the space suit’s lining and fused it together with a soldering iron for a stronger bond than sewing. It’s light, it’s nearly tear-proof, and it’s just one example of the practical application of the technologies that are discovered when making things for space.
The company is also developing tech clothing for earthlings, including a ski outfit with characteristics of a spacesuit. The jacket will include 3D printed locks at the wrist, where gloves will attach. This will keep air out, while keeping heat in. A new lightweight fabric called dyneema will aid in the warmth, with its high rated insulation.
It’s interesting that Final Frontier Design works with costumes, ski wear and NASA suits. The need for a combination of tech and cloth is still small, but the future is coming. So, if you want to help the cause, think like a costume designer. You should also check out our cool costume book. There’s a little something for everyone, and even if you don’t design for NASA, you can always make a great Baymax costume for your kid.
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