How far we’ve come, but is it possible, no more laundry? A look at the wonderful world of high tech fabrics
Science is working hard to fill our closet with even more options. Already burdened by an overwhelming number of colours and styles, we may soon find ourselves frantically asking, “Do I need my shirt to recharge my cell or can I skip the shower and let my shirt cover up the ensuing B.O.?” Sounds absurd, but you’d better get ready for it.
From clothing that monitors and regulates temperature to bulletproof liquid suits, the military is making use of all this new technology. But high-tech clothes aren’t just for the army, as winter jackets that regulate your body temperature could be coming out soon but solar cloths could be the first new fabric you find in the mall. Tiny solar panels can be woven or sprayed onto fabrics, providing a portable power supply…you. Researchers from Scotland, the University of Toronto, and around the globe are working to get these solar cloths into your closets. Right now, it may not be enough to bump the sound system at a party all night long, but it could be enough to recharge your cell. And instead of just powering your MP3 player, the electricity could keep you from having to recycle underwear. Scientists are also working to use electrical charges to repel dirt, keeping your clothes clean.
And why waste a beautiful sunny day inside doing your laundry, when you can spend it outside doing your laundry? Researchers at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University are blending titanium dioxide with fabrics, which may sound a bit scary. But when titanium dioxide is exposed to light, it creates a reaction that breaks down any dirt or grime on the fabric. That’s right, no more laundry.
Then again, maybe it’s not always the clothes that reek when you wake up after sleeping through your alarm…again. In the future, you can skip the shower and dig through the closet for a scented shirt. Suits soaked with scented micro-capsules are already a huge hit in South Korea, and are being tested in Los Angeles. As you move around, the micro-capsules break and release a pleasant smell (currently pine, lavender, and peppermint). And the suits sell for the same price as a regular one. It’s only a matter of time before companies realize the perfect fit for the capsules would be with those stank gym clothes.
Even the humble pair of socks will give you choices. You could be stuck between wanting to wear your socks with lycra that massage your feet or collagen-injected socks that keep your feet smooth, or better still, a pair of socks that kill the dead woodchuck smell from your favourite old Nikes.
All this could make life easier, but you’ll still have to watch the weather channel to figure out whether you’ll need solar fabrics or rainproof sweaters. And your parents could bust you sneaking out because the hall reeks of peppermint. Clearly, the future isn’t all rose micro-capsule-scented, but you will be master and commander over your B.O., smelly feet and laundry chores sooner than later: So, what do you need your clothes to do today?
Written by Faze contributor James Chung