Warning Signs: Clothing That Detects Carbon Monoxide
Maria Popova is a reader and a writer, and writes about what she reads on Brain Pickings (brainpickings.org), which is included in the Library of Congress archive of culturally valuable materials. She has also written for The New York Times, Wired UK, and The Atlantic, among others, and is an MIT Fellow. She is on Twitter @brainpicker.
Two of today's hottest areas of design innovation – data visualization and materials science – converge in a new project by NYU students Sue Ngo and Nien Lam. Warning Signs are garments outfitted with carbon monoxide sensors that make blue veins appear on lung- and heart-shaped thermochromic fabric appliques when a high level of air pollution is detected.
The project is part of the duo's Master's coursework at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and is designed to serve as a visceral awareness tool for an environmental issue so ubiquitous we often fail to notice it.
Though still a prototype, the Warning Signs addresses a serious issue which, left unmanaged, can have unspeakably tragic results. It would be interesting to see residential applications of the technology – from a couch that lights up when a carbon monoxide leak is detected to a rug that changes patterns based on atmospheric pollution levels.
Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine, Design Observer and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.
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