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Textile

Good Thinking

Silica nanoparticles used to make mosquito-repellant clothing

For many of us, mosquitoes are an irritating pest that can ruin any number of outdoor activities. For many others, however, they are also spreaders of malaria – a disease which infected approximately 216 million people in 2010, according to an estimate by the World Health Organization. Repeatedly slathering on bug repellant is one way of dealing with the insects, although wearing clothing made from mosquito-repellant fabric sounds a lot more preferable. While existing mozzie-unfriendly garments have some limitations, Portuguese tech company Nanolabel has developed a new treatment process that it claims is far superior to traditional technology.Read More

Scientists create anthrax-unfriendly "killer silk"

When anthrax spores go dormant, they develop a tough outer coating that can withstand heat, radiation and antibiotics, in one case even allowing them to come back to life after 250 million years. It seems that such spores could be no match, however, for a special pair of silk curtains.Read More

Electronics

Power Felt generates electricity from body heat

Some day, your jacket may be able to power your iPod ... and no, I’m not talking about piezoelectric fabrics (which generate electricity from movement-caused pressure), nor am I talking about photovoltaic materials, although both of those could probably do the job. Instead, your jacket might be made out of a new thermoelectric material called Power Felt, that converts temperature differences into electrical voltage – in the case of the jacket, the difference between its wind-cooled exterior and its body-warmed lining might be all that was needed.Read More

Science

Treated cotton cleans itself when exposed to sunlight

For some time now, we’ve been hearing about the benefits of drying our laundry outside on the clothesline. We save money and energy by not running the dryer, the sunlight kills germs, and we don’t run the risk of generating harmful dryer emissions. In the future, however, we might also end up washing our clothes by hanging them outside – scientists in China have successfully used sunlight to remove orange dye stains from cotton fabric, that was treated with a special coating.Read More

Outdoors

Future Fabrics: High-tech materials attempt to beat mother nature at her own game

A new dawn is breaking in the evolution of outdoor apparel technology. Many materials that dominate today's outdoor clothes - wool and down, for instance - have been plucked straight from nature for hundreds of years. While textile manufacturers and clothing companies have tried to improve upon natural designs, they've generally failed to come up with anything that unequivocally surpasses Mother Nature. Just beyond the action videos and gear shops though, an improved generation of materials with the potential to displace stale staples is slowly moving from test labs to retail shelves. If these materials can brave the real world and live up to the hype, outdoor apparel - and outdoor sports - will look very different in the future.Read More

Good Thinking

Fitted Fashion using 3D scanners to make custom-fit jeans

By now, you may be familiar with body-scanning systems that take peoples’ measurements, so those people know what size of clothes to shop for. Such systems include the recently-launched Bodymetrics, along with the more-established Intellifit. Well, startup company Fitted Fashion is taking the concept a step farther. Not only would each client get scanned to obtain their precise measurements, but the company would then make each client one or more pairs of custom-fit jeans, and mail those to their home.Read More

Good Thinking

Swiss team engineers first weavable, washable, wearable pure gold-coated fiber

What do you buy for the person who has everything? An obvious choice is something that's never existed before. Enter the determined textile specialists at Swiss research institute EMPA who spent the last ten years developing a method to affix pure gold onto silk. Only slightly less scarce than hen's teeth and spider silk cloth, the thread can be woven into a beautiful and surprisingly durable, even washable 24 carat fabric that Goldfinger himself would be proud to wear.Read More

Wearables

Experimental antenna-clothing outperforms regular antennas

In the recent past, we’ve seen outfits that incorporate bio-sensors and batteries, and even a bikini with integrated solar cells. One of the latest innovations in smart fabrics, however, allows a person’s clothing to act as multiple antennas. Developed at Ohio State University (OSU), the system could prove particularly useful to soldiers, who don’t want to be encumbered by a protruding whip antenna.Read More

Electronics

Conductive nanocoatings for textiles could lead to thin, flexible electronics

Not long ago, we reported on a prototype thin, flexible smartphone known as the Paperphone. While it isn’t actually made out of paper, the success of a research project at North Carolina State University indicates that phones in the future could be. Scientists there have been able to deposit conductive nanocoatings onto textiles, meaning that items such as pieces of paper or clothing could ultimately be used as electronic devices.Read More

Good Thinking

Sound-absorbing curtains let the light shine through

Heavy curtains made from thick material such as velvet are often needed to keep noise out of indoor environments, but Swiss researchers have come up with another option. The Empa researchers, in collaboration with textile designer Annette Douglas and silk weavers Weisbrod-Zurrer AG, have developed lightweight, translucent curtains which are five times more effective at absorbing sound than their conventional counterparts.Read More

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