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August 3, 2016 AT 1:00 am

These High Tech Shirts Will Make You Look Awesome When Air Quality Is Crappy @NikBentel #WearableWednesday

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You know air quality is often bad outside, especially in urban areas, but how do you tell which days are worse? Well, if you happen to have one of these shirts I spotted on FastCodesign you’ll be able to focus on the pollution that bothers you most and figure out an escape plan. AeroChromics has created three types of shirts that change based on specific targets in the air. The dotted one is geared to particle pollution, the amoeba-like one to carbon monoxide and the tiny maze style one to radiation. This is probably one of the few things you’ll ever see that actually looks more vibrant during a bad day!

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Nikolas Bentel is the designer who is thinking about climate change and pollution.

It came out of a thought exercise in which Bentel imagined what the world would be like 20 years from now. One of the problems he saw was the worsening of air pollution around the world, and in the way the air quality index (AQI) for each city is measured—at stationary points. In reality, the actual pollution at a given place could be far worse, or better, depending on where an individual stands. “I am not a politician and I’m not an actor so my medium [to effect change] is designed objects,” he says.

Here’s the cool background info on what is going on with the shirts. Carbon monoxide is detected using metal salts in the fabric dye which chemically react to reveal the pattern. Detecting particulate matter is more involved, using an arduino microcontroller with air quality sensors that trigger heat pads and thermochromatic dye. The radiation monitoring is still being worked out using a chemical reactive dye that responds to electron beam radiation.

I admit to having an above average interest in projects dealing with the environment, but there is definitely an increase in wearables that create awareness or monitor change. Whether it’s a cloud inspired outfit that transmits air quality through LEDs, a dress that turns color based on acid rain, or a duster that uses a Geiger counter for radiation, this is a time when the world we live in is being watched. Makers and designers are using their capabilities to assist research, collect data or just to create conversation about how these changes are affecting our lives. Looking for a less intense start into the world of environmental sensing? Try our UV Sensing Hat learning guide which is perfect for the summer weather. You can pimp out an urban fedora or make a floppy hat for the beach. You’ll look good and help protect your skin, all while learning more about wearable tech. Make sure you do a selfie with your finished project so we can check out your style!


Flora breadboard is 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!


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