July 11, 2007 From elite sportspeople to industrial workers and emergency services personnel, avoiding heat stress is critical to performance, productivity and in some cases, even staying alive. A air conditioner that follows you around sounds like a great idea if not a particularly practical one - so why not build one into your clothing? This is the concept behind this innovative cooling vest which uses two battery powered ventilation units concealed in its side pockets to circulate air through a permeable three-dimensional, pressure-resistant fabric at a rate of up to 550 litres (19.4 cubic ft) per minute. The result is a system that increases evaporation and keeps the user cool by supporting the natural thermo regulation system of the body.
The ventilationVest from Entrak personal climate systems is designed to evenly distribute air around the torso and provide evaporative cooling for up to eight hours on a single battery charge. The 10mm inner layer of 3-D polyester fabric provides a gap between the skin and clothes to better facilitate the movement of air and the two air fan cartridges can be switched on and off independently and the rate of flow is adjustable up to the maximum of 550 liters per minute.
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Featuring quiet operation (41dB-A), the vest weighs 2.87 lbs (1,300 g) or approximately 850 g (1.87 lbs) when the fan cartridges are removed and batteries can be recharged in around three hours.
Cooling vests that successfully utilize liquids and high-tech materials are not new, particularly in terms of developing cool clothing for military use, but the use of fans represents a new trend in thinking about personal climate control. The range of potential applications for these kind of products in difficult conditions include the steel and chemical industry, fire brigades, armed forces, mining, forestry emergency services and for private sector use in sports and fitness pursuits.View gallery - 4 images