If you’re reading this on your mobile phone, you’re holding a mildly radioactive device, which emits high-frequency electromagnetic waves—a form of radiation. If you’re a guy and you carry this very important device in the front pocket of your pants, you may be inadvertently damaging your own very important equipment. You know what we’re talking about here.
The fabric blocks radio waves like a bulletproof vest—while still being comfy and easily washable.
Scientists at the University of Exeter found that electromagnetic waves can affect male fertility: Men who carried cell phones in their front pant pockets had less alive and mobile spermatozoa than men who kept their mobile devices away from their vital parts. Even worse—while radio waves are a form non-ionizing radiation, which is much less dangerous than ionizing radiation from nuclear plants or X-ray machines, the International Agency for Research on Cancer still considers them potentially carcinogenic to humans. Next time you stick your smartphone into your front jeans pocket, think again.
You aren’t the only one with the problem. According to the World Health Organization, 6.9 billion people in the world walked around with mobile phones in 2014, and it’s fair to estimate that about half of them were men. What can these billions do to shield their crown jewels from the damaging waves? Luckily, four people among those billions had an idea. They created radiation-prove underwear.
It started back in 2006, when four friends — Daniel Herter, Berno Delius, Peer-Boy Matthiesen, and Nick Piepenburg — were students at the Munich Business School in Germany. Cell phone use was skyrocketing at the time, and the four were growing concerned about the side-effects.
Related: Can cell phones cause brain cancer?
“We kept thinking how mobile phones were getting more and more important and we were wearing them every day in our pants right next to the other very important thing in our lives,” Piepenburg told Digital Trends. With some research they found out that silver makes an efficient shield for this radiation type, but they couldn’t come up with a good solution on how to wear it. Hardly anyone would encrust their loins in metal armor, after all. “Silver is nice, but how to combine it with boxer shorts?” Piepenburg reflects on their conundrum. “We thought about it, but never found a solution.”
Several years later the group revisited the idea. They found a fabric that already contained a certain amount of silver in it — it was used for people with specific skin allergies. “That fabric was already on the market, but we increased the amount of silver in it to certain limits,” says Piepenburg. The material they use is made of 20 percent silver and 60 percent polyester, while the rest is polyamide. That combo made for a super-fabric that blocks the nasty radio waves like a bulletproof vest—while still being soft, comfy, and easily washable. “The fabric in our boxer shorts stops 98 percent of mobile phone radiation,” says Delius. “We tested and certified it with the University of German Armed Forces.”
The group found a manufacturer, Edelweiss GmbH, to produce the fabric, and formed a company they named Kronjuwelen — Crown Jewels. Then they launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the initial production run. Some of the perks for early backers? T-shirts printed to read #backedmyballs and yes, of course, some of the soft and silvery body armor for your junk that they’ve already produced. Radiation-proof boxer shorts. A must-have for every guy.
But wait, what about women? Aren’t ladies’ vital parts in similar danger? That’s a future direction, say Piepenburg and Delius, but the threat is somewhat different for women, and the protection is a little more challenging to design. Female reproductive organs are located higher up in the body, in parts of the stomach that aren’t covered by the petite lingerie women wear.
Luckily, women are less exposed to that radiation anyway. Unlike men, they often carry their phones in purses, further away from the body and in between other objects like makeup bags or wallets, all of which cuts down on the amount of radiation they receive. But because some studies noted that cell phone radiation may be harmful for a developing fetus, the group is definitely thinking about “silverware” for the femmes.
Are there any catches in the idea? Well, Kronjuwelen isn’t cheap. The price will be about 30-35 Euros, or double what Calvin Klein boxers sell for, Piepenburg says. That may sound a bit costly, but think about it: You’ll be quite literally wrapping your cojones in a silver lining. And aren’t your crown jewels priceless? Enough said.