A new 3D-printed bikini designed to clean the ocean while its wearer swims is literally saving the world’s oceans one breaststroke at a time.
The new swimsuit, which is known as the Sponge Suit bikini, was designed by UC Riverside electrical engineering professor Mihri Ozkan to absorb pollutants from the waters around it. And as CNET reports, the new piece of swimwear has just won first prize in the Reshape15: Wearable Technology Competition.
The innovative material from which the suit is crafted was developed by Ozkan and her husband Cengiz Ozkan–also an electrical engineering professor–and a couple of Ph.D students, Hamed Bay and Daisy Patino.
The material, which has been in development since its conception four years ago, was described Ozkan as a “super material” — a notion which may not come as all that much of a surprise given its ability to not only absorb as much as 20 times its own weight, but to soak up everything except for water. The latter of which, the water-repellent aspect, being particularly useful for cleaning up oil and chemical spills — not to mention the desalination of water.
Among many other things, the highly porous carbon “super” material known as Sponge is “very cost effective to produce,” according to Ozkan.
This is a super material that is not harmful to the environment and very cost effective to produce
The bikini itself is composed of a 3D printed frame crafted from flexible “elastomer” plastic that weighs just 1.9 ounces. The Sponge material is inserted into the fame and, according to CNET, can be reused up to 20 times before it’ll lose its ability to absorb contaminants through its pores. Beyond which point, the material’s absorbency is reduced to a degree at which the wearer’s skin becomes susceptible to coming in contact with the contaminants the material is designed to trap.
With sugar as its primary precursor, the Sponge material would be “highly cost-efficient” to mass produce, according to the team that stands behind it today — a team which has created a wearable solution for cleaning up the environment.
What do you think of this new wearable cleaning solution?