Dirty Fashion: Color-Changing Sweatshirt Indicates Air Pollution

Jan 20, 2011· 0 MIN READ
Salvatore Cardoni holds a political science degree from the George Washington University. He's written about all things environment since 2007.

Air pollution is now in vogue.

New York University graduate students Nien Lam and Sue Ngo have developed a sweatshirt embroidered with depictions of human lungs and hearts. The ornamental organs change colors when exposed to dirty air, reports the New York Daily News.

"The organs in your body are invisible to you, just like pollution and the other silent killers out there," said Lam, 32, to the Daily News.

Conceived for a class on wearable technologies at the Tisch School of the Arts, the shirts utilize a carbon monoxide sensor, about the size of a dime, to analyze pollution from cars, factories and second-hand smoke.

The Daily News has more on the technology behind the sweatshirt:

It sits on a microcontroller programmed to send electrical currents through the shirt, warming wires that run under the lungs—or on some shirts, a heart. Because the organs are made of thermochromic fabric that changes color dramatically when heated, blue veins become visible when the sensor finds toxins in the air.

Ngo told the Daily News that he and Lam are working on a second iteration of the sweatshirt that would detect intoxication on an emblazoned liver.