At Japan's Environment Ministry offices, the employees conform to a new energy-saving dress code known as Super Cool Biz (what, you have a better name?). Super Cool Biz (which I will refer to by its full name as often as possible, for obvious reasons) is an effort to tamp down Japan's skyrocketing energy consumption, largely through cutting out excess air conditioning--and the hotter offices required a change in the traditional Japanese dress code, from full suits to eye-catching and naturally cooling Hawaiian shirts.
Hey, reader, what are you wearing?
Did rumpled jeans fit your fancy this morning? Or perhaps a nice cotton-poly blend shirt with a paisley print? Here at PopSci, we prefer this spring's new line of nanostructured piezoelectric thermo-capable waterproof spider silk fireproof onesies, with added UV protection. Now that sounds like the uniform of the future.
Click here to check out our gallery of future textiles and fabrics.
This new Spiderman-style suit may not win astronauts a spot in the fashion hall of fame, but it could help keep their bones intact during long spaceflights. Described in a new paper, prototype tests of the Gravity Loading Countermeasure Skinsuit, being developed by a research team at MIT's Man-Vehicle Laboratory, show that the suit simulates the effects of gravity on the human body, which could solve one of the biggest obstacles to future human space travel.
If it's not the most efficient piece of clothing ever designed, it very well might be the smartest. The 'DARPA hoodie,' a strangely-designed patchwork garment accented with the occasional red zipper, is made of 12 interlocking pieces of rip-resistant nylon that sew perfectly together into a hoodie with zero waste. Cooler still, it was born of an algorithm developed for DARPA's Programmable Matter program, which seeks to make T-1000-like shape-shifting smart materials.
High fashion meets high tech with this new spray-on clothing designed by a Spanish fashionisto. The design team also hopes to use the technology for spray-on bandages and hygienic upholstery.
Manel Torres worked with scientists at Imperial College London to invent the silly-string-like spray, announced just in time for Fashion Week.
Ever dreamed of having a personal communicator built right into your clothing, a la Star Trek? That dream might be closer to reality than you realized. Finnish company Patria Aviation Oy has spent the last 18 months bringing to life a flexible antenna that can be worn on the sleeve of your favorite shirt. With the support of the European Space Agency (ESA), Patria created a patch with personal communication and GPS tracking capabilities that could satisfy even those on the Starship Enterprise.
Anyone who's ever spilled a hot beverage in his or her lap will be happy to hear that chemists at the University of Minnesota have announced a scaldproof fabric.
Water-resistant fabric, of course, has already existed for some time -- but its impermeability applies only to cool liquids. Hot coffee, scalding soup, and other liquids above a certain temperature, on the other hand, seep right through water-resistant cloth.
Does the world need another waifish fashion model who can make a limited number of facial expressions and whose main skill in life is walking jerkily down a catwalk? If you are the Japanese robotics industry, the answer is yes.
A few weeks back we analyzed some of the features of the innovative Newton Running shoe in terms of the relevant physics principles. While at the time the point was to assess the theory behind the shoes, it was suggested that I put them to the test in my "lab." In other words, out on the roads and trails where, being of the distance-runner species, I generally spend at least an hour per day. While this is in no way any kind of systematic scientific experiment (which is beyond the scope of my resources), based on my personal experience with the shoes, I'll make an informal attempt to further address the claims made by the two Newtons (Running and Isaac!).
I cannot even think about this long enough to make a joke: Japanese scientists have developed stink-free underwear for astronauts to wear for extended periods in space.
Also in today's links: a link between obesity and ADHD, a debate over the population of the Galapagos, and a remarkable climate-change contrarian.