If you’ve ever lived in an urban area, chances are that you’ve seen just how bad pollution can get through the smoggy air fighting its way between skyscrapers. But even city dwellers can’t see every pollutant. That’s why one man has created a line of shirts to make people more aware of their harmful surroundings.
Created by New York-based industrial designer Nikolas Bentel, the Aerochromics line is capable of reacting to carbon monoxide, particle pollution, or radioactivity by changing colors when dangerous levels are detected in the air.
“Current data collection stations are stationary, rendering them useless when you leave their vicinity,” it says on the company’s website. “Because of this it is impossible to know what type of air you are breathing. Our Aerochromic clothing solves this problem.”
Two sensors, one in the front and the other in the back, activate heat pads on the shirts that change from a white to black design or vice versa depending on which of the three shirts you happen to be wearing. Contact with carbon monoxide, for instance, causes the shirt’s dye to change from black stripes to white.
“Knowing if an urban area is safe should be public knowledge,” says Bentel. “The shirt completely changing colors allows people around the user to also be aware of their surroundings.”
The shirts were first designed as a personal art project, but Bentel’s interest in unlocking pollution threats for the future of urban living pushed him to mass production.
“I felt that it was important to be able to sell the clothing to get the technology into the hands of real people,” he says.
Ready to join the conversation? You’ll have to shell out at least $500 for a shirt first. But for now, check out the video and watch the magical idea come to life!