What happens when scientists, engineers, researchers, designers, weavers, knitters, and inventors get together? It becomes a collaboration that gives birth to temperature-responsive fabric. “There are no batteries, no wires, and no sensors,” says Brent Ridley, CEO of Skyscrape.
Described as “the first of its kind”, Skyscrape makes clothing that naturally adapts to the temperature of both the wearer and the environment. “Our fabrics literally change shape when temperatures change, becoming thicker and insulating more when temperatures are colder so that you can be comfortable wherever you are”, they said in a press release.
“There are no batteries, no wires, and no sensors.”
Focusing on outerwear for the city, the temperature-responsive apparel has active yarns in the fabric that expand and contract, causing it to bend. Key features include the increasing and decreasing of the thickness of the material and its insulative properties. Also, the fabric itself acts as a thermometer, with the thickness and insulation increasing in the cold.
Supported by the United States Department of Energy and with additional funding from Y Combinator, they explained further: “Our earliest experimental ambitions were out-of-the-box but relatively modest: create a fabric that moved in response to changes in temperature. Reimagining materials like this – creating a textile that naturally changes shape without wires or sensors – required years of laboratory work, designing machines and developing processes so that the yarns and fabrics could adapt to the environment”.
Born out of a vision to create thermally comfortable clothing, Skyscrape’s efforts, which expanded from the laboratory to the factory, offer thermal comfort over a more extensive temperature range. Now the innovative active fabric has been incorporated into a prototype jacket and as they continue to finalise the design, watch this space for Skyscrape’s 2020 product launch.