The fertile minds of the futurist-designers at Nieuwe Heren (they of "Beauty and the Geek" keyboard-pants infamy) have been in touch to tell us about their latest design: a jacket named the Aegis Parka that both senses and offers protection from airborne pollutants common to inner cities. The worse the air quality, the more integrated LEDs on the jacket's front light up.

Named for Aegis, the Illiad's "ageless and immortal" shield and and breastplate that belonged to Zeus and Athena, the Aegis Parka is designed to warn its wearer (immortal or otherwise) of deteriorating urban air quality thanks to its integrated MQ-135 air pollution sensor which can detect ammonia, nitrogen oxides, alcohol, Benzene, smoke and carbon dioxide. Higher concentrations of pollutants will cause more of the jacket's 40 integrated "extra bright" LEDs to illuminate, alerting the wearer to the poor air quality.

And as befits the name, the Aegis Parka is designed to offer protection from the pollutants. Nieuwe Heren claims that the integrated "respirator" is able to filter nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, hydrocarbons, asbestos dust, black smoke diesel emissions, road dust and pollen.

Finally, the jacket is treated the photocatalyst titanium dioxide, a compound with anti-fouling and sterilizing properties when exposed to ultraviolet light. Used increasingly commonly in so-called self-cleaning products, Nieuwe Heren claims the finish makes the Aegis Parka resistant to grime, mold, bacteria and viruses, and, under UV, will "destroy any airborne pollutant touching the garment."

For now the Aegis Parka remains a prototype, but Nieuwe Heren's Tim Smit told Gizmag that the company is open to collaborating with manufacturers. "At the moment we can't say if it will ever go into production," he said. "Though we would love it if we could make the parka around US$300."

Source: Nieuwe Heren