Skip to main content

High-tech shirts change their pattern and color in response to pollution or radiation

When I was a kid I thought a pair of my granddad’s adaptive sunglasses, which turned from clear to tinted according to the weather, was just about the coolest thing around.

Still, nothing could have prepared my eight-year-old self for designer Nikolas Bentel’s nifty new line of clothing, called Aerochromics. Bentel has created three different shirts: each of which change in some unique way when they come into contact with different environmental factors.

“I wanted to create something that not only starts a conversation about pollution but also actively participates in the discussion,” Bentel told Digital Trends.

The first shirt works in a way that is very similar to an everyday carbon monoxide spot detector, which turns black when carbon monoxide is present and clear when it is not. “When carbon monoxide ends up touching the clothing, it’s oxidized by chemical salts,” Bentel says. “This process is what changes the colors. The dye also contains chemical salts made from transition metals. Once the carbon monoxide is removed, these metal salts steal some oxygen from the air and [that] changes the catalyst back to its original chemical form — so the detector spot changes back to its original color. Essentially, the catalyst regenerates in the air.”

The second shirt boasts two small sensors, one on the front and one on the back. When the shirt is introduced into an area with particle pollution like dust or smoke, the sensors trip and alert the small micro-controller embedded in the shirt collar. “Each dot is connected to a circular heat pad that the microcontroller activates when pollution is detected,” Bentel explains. “Each patch has a thermo-chromic dye which changes colors when the patch heats up. Each patch then has a layer of insulation which blocks the dots from outside temperatures, which also retains the heat in the dot.”

The third and final shirt is designed to react to radioactivity. “The dye on the shirt is a nontoxic, chemical process indicator dye that changes color depending upon exposure to gamma or electron beam radiation,” Bentel says. “At greater dosage levels, the radiation indicators exhibit an increased color. Once you have been exposed to a sizable amount of radiation the shirt will not change back. This technology is very similar to radiation indicator dots.”

Bentel’s shirts aren’t cheap: costing $500 each for the first two and $650 for the radiation shirt. However, they’re definitely pretty innovative and make for a bold fashion statement.

Editors' Recommendations

Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
Digital Trends’ Top Tech of CES 2023 Awards
Best of CES 2023 Awards Our Top Tech from the Show Feature

Let there be no doubt: CES isn’t just alive in 2023; it’s thriving. Take one glance at the taxi gridlock outside the Las Vegas Convention Center and it’s evident that two quiet COVID years didn’t kill the world’s desire for an overcrowded in-person tech extravaganza -- they just built up a ravenous demand.

From VR to AI, eVTOLs and QD-OLED, the acronyms were flying and fresh technologies populated every corner of the show floor, and even the parking lot. So naturally, we poked, prodded, and tried on everything we could. They weren’t all revolutionary. But they didn’t have to be. We’ve watched enough waves of “game-changing” technologies that never quite arrive to know that sometimes it’s the little tweaks that really count.

Read more
Digital Trends’ Tech For Change CES 2023 Awards
Digital Trends CES 2023 Tech For Change Award Winners Feature

CES is more than just a neon-drenched show-and-tell session for the world’s biggest tech manufacturers. More and more, it’s also a place where companies showcase innovations that could truly make the world a better place — and at CES 2023, this type of tech was on full display. We saw everything from accessibility-minded PS5 controllers to pedal-powered smart desks. But of all the amazing innovations on display this year, these three impressed us the most:

Samsung's Relumino Mode
Across the globe, roughly 300 million people suffer from moderate to severe vision loss, and generally speaking, most TVs don’t take that into account. So in an effort to make television more accessible and enjoyable for those millions of people suffering from impaired vision, Samsung is adding a new picture mode to many of its new TVs.
[CES 2023] Relumino Mode: Innovation for every need | Samsung
Relumino Mode, as it’s called, works by adding a bunch of different visual filters to the picture simultaneously. Outlines of people and objects on screen are highlighted, the contrast and brightness of the overall picture are cranked up, and extra sharpness is applied to everything. The resulting video would likely look strange to people with normal vision, but for folks with low vision, it should look clearer and closer to "normal" than it otherwise would.
Excitingly, since Relumino Mode is ultimately just a clever software trick, this technology could theoretically be pushed out via a software update and installed on millions of existing Samsung TVs -- not just new and recently purchased ones.

Read more
AI turned Breaking Bad into an anime — and it’s terrifying
Split image of Breaking Bad anime characters.

These days, it seems like there's nothing AI programs can't do. Thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence, deepfakes have done digital "face-offs" with Hollywood celebrities in films and TV shows, VFX artists can de-age actors almost instantly, and ChatGPT has learned how to write big-budget screenplays in the blink of an eye. Pretty soon, AI will probably decide who wins at the Oscars.

Within the past year, AI has also been used to generate beautiful works of art in seconds, creating a viral new trend and causing a boon for fan artists everywhere. TikTok user @cyborgism recently broke the internet by posting a clip featuring many AI-generated pictures of Breaking Bad. The theme here is that the characters are depicted as anime characters straight out of the 1980s, and the result is concerning to say the least. Depending on your viewpoint, Breaking Bad AI (my unofficial name for it) shows how technology can either threaten the integrity of original works of art or nurture artistic expression.
What if AI created Breaking Bad as a 1980s anime?
Playing over Metro Boomin's rap remix of the famous "I am the one who knocks" monologue, the video features images of the cast that range from shockingly realistic to full-on exaggerated. The clip currently has over 65,000 likes on TikTok alone, and many other users have shared their thoughts on the art. One user wrote, "Regardless of the repercussions on the entertainment industry, I can't wait for AI to be advanced enough to animate the whole show like this."

Read more