I haven’t gone off the deep end, really. And yes, that’s a date in the headline, but I pulled it out of thin air. Reality is that what I’m speculating about in this post could be possible in, say 2080. If not sooner. Cutting-edge science and the garment industry aren’t exactly strangers, and the idea of being able to… I’m getting ahead of myself.
With conventional spacesuits, you’re essentially in a balloon of gas that’s providing you with the necessary one-third of an atmosphere [of pressure,] to keep you alive in the vacuum of space,” says Newman, who has worked for the past decade to design a form-fitting, flexible spacesuit of the future. “We want to achieve that same pressurization, but through mechanical counterpressure — applying the pressure directly to the skin, thus avoiding the gas pressure altogether. We combine passive elastics with active materials. … Ultimately, the big advantage is mobility, and a very lightweight suit for planetary exploration.”
we can literally embroider a charge-storing pattern onto any garment using the vapor-coated threads that our lab makes. This opens the door for simply sewing circuits on self-powered smart garments.”
What I find interesting, and amusing, about all of this? It’s not just that the new technology is going to make space travel and exploration much more comfortable and dexterous. It’s that, well, the collision of science fiction and haut couture is going to be very interesting indeed. I think we have all seen the dresses with embedded LEDs or fiber-optic strands that sparkle, glow, and shimmer. Now, the batteries necessary for that are bulky and you won’t see them as the photographers carefully maneuver around showing them. But with this technology, well, a nice swishy skirt has a fair amount of energy that could be harvested and stored to light up with twinkles. Battery-powered glitter, anyone?
But best of all. The old-school science fiction covers are finally going to be a real possibility. Ok, maybe not this one.
Honestly, the first thing I thought of when Dorothy Grant described it, and then when I saw it, was a milking machine. Peter Grant’s comment was “The Lactation Evacuation” should be the English translation for that cover. This one, on the other hand, could very well be a result of the peculiar collision between haut couture and space travel. Maybe.
Ah, well, even if I don’t get my space suit that gives me a vavavoom figure through the miracles of modern technology, the possibilities of wearable batteries, energy collection and storage on our person, and a space suit that allows full range of motion is still pretty amazing.