The smart way to dress for winter

February 1st, 2017 / By: / Projects

Winner of the Outdoor Industry Award in Gold 2016, the electric balaclava is just the beginning of what can be achieved through the development of smart textiles, according to researchers at Nottingham Trent University. Photo: Stoll GmbH.
Winner of the Outdoor Industry Award in Gold 2016, the electric balaclava is just the beginning of what can be achieved through the development of smart textiles, according to researchers at Nottingham Trent University. Photo: Stoll GmbH.

Skiers, runners and other winter athletes are at greater risk of contracting chest infections when exercising in the cold. Now there is a “smart” solution—a balaclava that warms oxygen before it’s inhaled.

Developed by Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, England, and German advanced knitting machine manufacturer Stoll GmbH, the prototype features a knitted patch of electric-conductive mesh yarn over the nose and mouth that emits heat when charged with an electric current. The electric-conductive yarns are so tiny that they cannot be felt by human skin. Using state-of-the-art flatbed knitting technology, Stoll knit the heating wires directly into the fabric, exactly where they’re needed.

The patch is connected to a knitted power socket at the back of the mask that contains a plus and minus pole to connect a rechargeable cell battery. When the battery is inserted, the power turns on and provides a consistent level of warmth around the mouth and nose.

The balaclava behaves like most any fabric. It features 3-D-knitted pre-shape qualities for a more comfortable fit and is fully washable. Reflective stripes provide visibility at night. For more, visit www.stoll.com.

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