Given the current environmental climate, with rising CO2 levels and increased pollution in urban cities, we decided to design clothing that would help individuals detect the amount of pollution in their environment. Our aim is to help individuals be more informed of the pollution in their environment and also inspire individuals to take actions that will decrease pollution and improve air quality. Hence, the name of our project, Breathe.
To help individuals detect environmental pollution, we designed clothing with smart fabrics that change colors based on the presence of environmental pollution, thus informing the wearer of the presence and intensity of pollution in their environment. These smart fabrics are made by adhering an environmentally-sensitive polymer and nanocomposite layer that detects pollutants onto 3D-printed fabrics. This 3D-printing method allows us to create multidimensional forms that interact physically with the environment. These forms resemble other aspects of the biological process, such as cells and the movement of breathing.
The unique aspect of these clothes is that wearer of these environmentally-sensitive fabrics is informed of information that the brain and body cannot easily detect on its own – the presence of potentially life-threatening pollutants. By making what invisible visible, we give power back to the individual. Most importantly, we, the living and breathing humans, are aided to breathe in a more informed (and hopefully better) way. In sum, the aim of this exploration is to develop an integrated process for smart and functional textiles that help individuals improve their health, ecological footprint, and awareness.