Smart Clothing: Design at its Best
By Haris Silic
Issue 7 Spring 2011
What would happen if we designed clothes that helped facilitate the communication between the environment and our bodies?
NYU students Niem Lam and Sue Ngo decided to answer this question. They designed sweatshirts that detect the levels of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere and respond to it. So far they only have two designs: one with an illustration of a heart and the other with an illustration of lungs. When the level of carbon monoxide is high the illustrations start to change. In sweatshirt designs, distinct veins begin to appear.
Below is a quick video of an example:
This genius use of strategic design has a potential to explode in the garment arena. Sue Ngo mentioned that they are working on a shirt design that would detect the levels of alcohol in person’s liver, and respond to it. I really think there are countless uses for this idea. What if our clothes told us our immune system was weakening, or that we needed to hydrate our bodies? Smart clothing, such as these sweatshirts, elevates design to the level that it deserves: a strategic tool that improves lives, and creates more intelligent human beings.