While there are already various types of winter sportswear textiles that are claimed to draw sweat away from the skin while still keeping the wearer warm, HYDRO_BOT is certainly unique. Developed by a consortium that includes Switzerland's Empa research group, it utilizes gold and electricity.
Located in the lining of HYDRO_BOT ski jackets are panels made up of thin polymer membranes, that are coated on both sides with a small amount of gold – about 0.2 grams of the metal go into one jacket. When a weak electrical current is applied to that membrane, salt ions (along with the water surrounding them) are drawn through it, going from one side to the other via tiny perforations.
Known as electro-osmosis, the process is similar to that by which plants draw water from the ground.
Although the membrane does wick moisture even when not powered up, it can reportedly pump about 200 liters of liquid per square meter every hour when the electrical current is applied. Power comes from a battery incorporated into the garment, and can be manually switched on and off as the user sees fit.
The technology is being commercialized by Swiss company Osmotex, and is currently on display in the form of a prototype jacket at the ISPO sports trade show in Munich. It is hoped that HYDRO_BOT-enabled jackets will be available by this October.
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