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High-Tech Shirts From Nikolas Bentel Can Detect Air Pollution, Radiation

Two decades ago, the height of science merging with fashion included eyewear that turned tinted according to the weather, and sneakers that lighted up and made sounds.

Now, designer Nikolas Bentel has turned the combination of technology and fashion into a highly innovative, revolutionary trend geared towards showing the effects of environmental change. His creations, a new line of clothing called Aerochromics, are three shirts that each have the capability of changing in some unique method when they come into contact with factors around them, such as pollution.

Bentel told Digital Trends,

I wanted to create something that not only starts a conversation about pollution but also actively participates in the discussion.

He got the idea of making wearable air quality monitors while walking around New York City.

The first shirt in the series works as a kind of carbon monoxide detector, turning black when carbon monoxide is present and clear when there is none.

The second shirt has two sensors – one in the back, one in the front. When the shirt enters an area with particle pollution such as dust or smoke, the sensors alert a small-microcontroller in the shirt collar, changing the shirt’s color.

The third shirt responds to radioactivity, using a “nontoxic, chemical process indicator dye that changes color depending upon exposure to gamma or electron beam radiation,” Bentel says. When the shirt soaks up a certain amount of radioactivity, it won’t change back.

The Aerochromics shirts don’t come cheap, at $500 for the first two and $650 for the third, but they do make the unique, highly advanced fashion statement.

Bentel says sales are only secondary to him, his main cause being to highlight the risks of poor environmental practices, and that he wants to spread awareness about invisible pollution in urban spaces. He says, “Everyone should be living in good air conditions and not moderate conditions.”


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