Wearable Tech is Helping Clean the World's Oceans One Swimsuit at a Time

From www.justluxe.com by Marissa Stempien
Wearable Tech is Helping Clean the World's Oceans One Swimsuit at a Time

Want to do your part to help clean up the world’s oceans? Then just go for a swim. The latest device in wearable tech is the Sponge Suit, a 3D printed bikini that can actually absorb pollutants from the water around it. A team of engineers at the University of California, Riverside, led by Dr. Mihiri Ozhan, have designed the material which can repel water, absorb contaminants and hold up to 25 times its weight in pollutants. It’s a revolutionary way to fight global environmental issues—and all you have to do is frolic at the beach.

 Sponge SuitPhoto Credit: Your Shape Sponge Suit

The material, appropriately named Sponge, is a sucrose derivative and made to be lightweight, cost effective and strong. The material filters the water around the swimmer through multiple pores and holds contaminants in the inner pores, out of the water and away from your skin. It can be used up to 20 times before it’s completely saturated; at that point the swimsuit can be recycled and replaced. The Sponge will not release the material until it’s being recycled, and heated to 1,832 degrees, so nothing will leak onto you or back into the water.

 Sponge SuitPhoto Credit: Your Shape Sponge Suit

Partners at Eray Carbajo envisioned turning the new material into a functional and wearable swimsuit, so they created a 3D-printed, “elasto plastic” bikini cage that would conform to the body. It was designed with the form and ergonomics of the human body in mind so anyone, regardless of shape and style, can help clean the world’s oceans. While it doesn’t look like a normal swim suit (it looks much better than that) the material could be transformed into an entire series of pieces like monokinis, trunks, bathing suits, even swim caps.

 Sponge SuitPhoto Credit: Your Shape Sponge Suit

The engineering team was awarded first place at the Reshape15: Wearable Technology Competition for their work on the Sponge Suit. While the high-tech swimwear is currently just a prototype, Dr. Ozhan says that it should be available for purchase fairly soon. And due to its highly-recyclable content and inexpensive production value, it’ll be easy to buy a couple each summer, spend a day at the beach, save the world and just recycle your bikini when you’re done.

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