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Clothes of the future will adjust to the weather, body temperature

Researchers say their technology is accurate and dynamic, capable of ensuring optimal comfort in rapidly changing conditions

By Brooks Hays
Clothes of the future will adjust to the weather, body temperature
Patients often complain that hospitals are too cold. Researchers in Finland say their technology could help keep surgeons cooler and allow for slightly warmer temperatures inside medical facilities. File photo by UPI/Shutterstock/Kzenon

ESPOO, Finland, March 9 (UPI) -- A group of scientists in Finland are the definition of fashion forward. They're working on designing the clothes of the future -- smart clothes.

Their work is part of the Smart Clothing project at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd., a nonprofit research and development organization in Finland.

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Scientists have developed smartphones, smart cars and smart homes. Now, they're working on smart clothes. In this instance, smart describes the quality of interaction and adaptation.

Researchers are working to design and produce clothes that change their characteristics to ensure maximum comfort for the wearer. That means monitoring weather conditions and body heat to adjust breathibility and temperature.

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The group says their prototypes are some of the first to account for differences in how male and female bodies release heat. The human body reveals inner conditions in different ways and in different places depending on gender, body shape, size and other physiological factors. VTT's Human Thermal Model tool empowers the smart material to properly react to a person's individual thermal sensations.

Researchers say the new technology is accurate and dynamic, capable of ensuring optimal comfort in rapidly changing conditions -- ideal for police officers, firemen, soldiers, athletes, newborn babies and others.

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Smart clothes could also help keep doctors cool during surgery.

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"Hospital patients have been asked about their most unpleasant experience, and the most common answer is feeling cold -- pain comes only second," Pekka Tuomaala, principle scientist on the VTT smart clothes project, said in a press release.

Researchers are now searching for partners to help them take their technology to market.

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