Our oceans are a mess, from oil spills to microscopic plastic particles. That’s why I was excited to find the details about this ocean scrubbing swimsuit from WearableTechInsider. It’s called Spongesuit and utilizes a special material engineered by folks at the University of California Riverside that repels water, and absorbs toxins. It’s made of heated sucrose that is highly porous and cost effective to manufacture. The bonus is that the pollutants are absorbed within the sponge, keeping it away from the body.
The material is exciting, but it needed the help of Eray Carbajo, a New York/Istanbul design firm to elevate it into a wearable. Thanks to 3D printing, a minimal bikini frame was designed that would allow for the sponge insert. The sponge can be customized and was easily molded into the design needed, allowing for a perfect fit. A bikini naturally gets lots of attention, and this project did win the Reshape 15 competition. However, I can see a more practical wearable resulting with something like a sports bra design of stretch mesh with pockets for the sponge filler. Certainly a scuba suit or one-piece would also allow for more practical cleaning ability, too. Apparently there is a limit to the size sponge you can use.
The material can absorb 20 times its weight, which is a potential issue for the larger swimmers among us. Even a one-pound suit is going to be a little more substantial by the time it’s ready to be replaced.
The tougher issue is the removal of toxins once the sponge has done it’s job. Now you have to heat the material above 1000 degrees Celsius and then there is the question of what to do with the toxins once removed. However, this project does start a positive conversation of using the collaborative power of many people at a beach for the good of the planet. What if everyone could custom design their own swimsuit? It might even be something that smacks of The League of Justice since we are talking about saving the planet here. That’s why I’m recommending 1,000 Incredible Costume and Cosplay Ideas. Sci-fi and fantasy often lead to real-life solutions, so why not use this as your jumping off point.
Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!