According to the Harvard Business Review, AI is redefining what it means to be smart and the innovation up for discussion today is a testament to this. Nowadays, we’re expanding the realms of knowledge and we’re seeing the manifold applications of artificial intelligence in almost every field.
While smart grids and mobile computing are chief beneficiaries of the advancement recorded, the fashion sphere is another area enjoying AI technology. Now, we have smart jackets or as is sometimes called, heated jackets, which can adequately monitor the environment’s temperature and adapt the body temperature to suit it.
At the moment, there are other smart jackets such as the Mama-Ope, which measures the body temperature, the heart rate, and the lung condition. We also have the Project Jacquard, a brainchild of Google and Levi, which allows you to control your mobile phone by just brushing your hand over the sleeve. However, Mercury Jacket is the bone of contention in this post.
When smart thermostats were introduced to our society, they were met with a lot of praise and adulation. The joy of having your home automatically adjust without lifting a finger or even saying a word was truly unbounded and we all thought that was all there was to it. However, this company changed the game totally by asking the question, “Why should you be restricted to the smart thermostats in your home? What about on the streets?”
With this question, the brains behind this company set to work and developed a jacket that uses microprocessors, artificial intelligence, and certain sensitive materials to monitor the atmospheric temperature and then automatically adjust to the right temperature. The carbon fiber heating elements are strategically placed and they are lit when activated. These heaters are able to deliver 10-watts of heat concurrently, with the temperatures peaking at 135ºF/57ºC- similar to that of a cup of coffee.
Are you worried about overheating? Well, this isn’t a cause for concern. The heating mechanism is both proactive and reactive and is constantly adapting to your body temperature. The heat is perfectly triangulated, ensuring that you do not have to worry about too much heat in a particular region.
It leverages artificial intelligence to learn your behavior over a period of time so that, rather than controlling it using voice commands, it automatically understands how you’ll respond to a particular occurrence.
This jacket, with its built-in heaters, is almost weightless and inconspicuous when not in use. They are also aesthetically pleasing, boasting beautiful designs which come in navy blue and black colors. Mercury jackets also come with a removable hood and inbuilt wireless charging capability. The jacket is designed to be durable, repelling snow, rain, odors, wind, etc.
How was the Mercury Jacket Made?
The jacket comprises the shell, the insulation, and the liner. Below is a breakdown is given by the company as regards the fabric content.
The shell is made of 75% Polyester and 25% Polyurethane. (25% Bio-based PU)
The liner consists of 100% Polyester.
The insulation is made of 100% recycled polyester and is infused with coffee-grounds which help in controlling odor.
The heating process entails 3 carbon-fiber heating pads. Two of these pads are 2.5-watt panels and they are positioned around the hand-warmer pocket. The other is a 5-watt panel and it is present at the back. They heat the garment via resistive heating. What is resistive heating?
Basically, when current is made to flow through any material which has a form of resistance, heat is created. This heat occurs as a result of friction which is created as work is done carrying the electrons to an area of lower potential. Liken this process to the way in which current flows through an incandescent bulb to give off heat. The same happens with a resistive material like carbon fiber.
The pads have undergone thorough washing and drying for over 75 cycles- which is above the lifespan of several garments. One other issue which might be of concern is that of short-circuiting. However, novel techniques such as heat encapsulation, silicone dripping, and off-set splicing are employed to limit the occurrence of short-circuiting in the jacket.
The Battery Life
At the moment, the heating system works on a conventional USB, 2-amp output battery. With a 10,000 mAh battery, it is possible to get over 4.5 hours of steady heat at maximum power. The jacket also leverages machine learning technology to control the power output
Can this heated jacket be washed? How can it be washed?
Ideally, the water-proof nature of the jacket means that it is okay for washing with no expected side-effect. It can even be machine washed and tumble dried for periods as long as 15 minutes. After this, you can proceed to hang it to dry properly.
Features of the Mercury Jacket
- It is Waterproof
This smart jacket is waterproof and its breathable 2-layer shell has a polyester fabric which is laminated to a polyurethane membrane. The implication of this is that you’re able to stretch this fabric as much as you want without any fear of the waterproof capacity being degraded over time. It also boasts a superior quality that is lacking in many of the waterproof jackets available today- breathability. So, go under the rain as much as you like, no harm would come to your beloved Mercury jacket.
- It is Odor-Absorptive
Now, this smart jacket is made of a recycled polyester, S. Cafe, which has been blended with coffee grounds. The blending process was done to wash off the oils and then provide a sort of odor-absorptive ability. The surface area of the ground does the work of trapping the odor molecules and then preventing the smell from escaping. When regular detergent is applied, the fabric is then recharged.
- It is Voice Controlled
If you like, you can use your voice to activate it using smart assistants like Alexa.
- Various Heating Modes
This garment can either work in the automatic mode, pre-heating mode, or app-control mode.
The company behind this project, Ministry of Supply, also enjoys a fruitful collaboration with companies like Singtex, Rain Agency, MEC AddHeat, and Dephy. We can expect more sophisticated features and improved functionality in the coming years.