Swiss sportswear brand Kjus has launched what it claims is the world’s first garment to feature an electronic, user-controlled membrane, designed to eliminate sweat simply by touching a button.
Developed and patented by Swiss technology company Osmotex, HYDRO_BOT is described by the companies as the first “significant” innovation since membranes were introduced 40 years ago.
The technology has been integrated by Kjus into a ski jacket after a period of more than ten years in R&D by Swiss research institute EMPA (the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology) and fabric developer Schoeller.
Now, Kjus’ 7SPHERE HYDRO_BOT ski jacket pulls sweat away from the inner garments and out of the jacket using a process called electro-osmosis. This overcomes the issue of sweat becoming trapped inside a skier’s clothing system and saturated inner garments.
The HYDRO_BOT technology is incorporated into the jacket via two panels strategically located on the high-sweat zone of the back. The technology consists of three functional layers; a membrane made up of trillions of pores per square metres, surrounded by conductive fabric. When a small electrical pulse is applied, the pores turn into micro-pumps, actively pumping sweat away from the body and out of the jacket quickly and efficiently. The jacket can be switched on and off with the integrated control unit or via Bluetooth from the iPhone & Android compatible app.
“HYDRO_BOT solves one of the biggest challenges in the ski and sportswear sector – breathability, and the issues that arise when a skier builds up a sweat in sub-zero temperatures, while wearing warm, waterproof clothing,” says Joacim Holter, managing director and chairman at Osmotex.
Up until now, ski jackets using regular membranes have not been able to wick moisture away from the body fast enough, especially in colder temperatures when the breathability of regular membranes take a plunge.
The HYDRO_BOT jacket is up to ten times more efficient than jackets with regular membranes, according to Kjus, and is not adversely affected by freezing temperatures. The firm claims it is the first ever garment to be able to match human sweat rates in terms of breathability. By measuring the amount of sweat passing through the panels the app is also able to make practical recommendations on how to regulate body temperature, enabling skiers to minimise sweat production in the first place.
“Kjus creates garments that enable sportspeople to focus on their performance and the experience. For two decades Kjus has been researching and developing new fabrics and technologies to tackle the challenge of breathability in skiwear,” says Kjus’ head of innovation, Ken Kurtzweg, “The 7SPHERE HYDRO_BOT is a game-changing wearable-tech jacket that represents a giant leap forward on our mission to ensure skiers are kept dry, warm and comfortable from the first run of the day to the last.”
The 7SPHERE HYDRO_BOT jacket will initially be available for men only and retails for US$1,699. It will be available for purchase on www.kjus.com and through KJUS stores and select retailers from 10 December.