If you love science, keeping snug, the great outdoors, and spending a shit ton of money on nondescript pieces of clothing, this £525 graphene jacket is going to be right up your street.
You too, can look as miserable as the guy in the image up top, after shelling out £525 on a reversible jacket that does pretty much the same job as a couple of decent layers and something waterproof tossed on top. The real innovation comes from the applications that people will cook up now that the jackets are out in the wild as experiential prototypes.
To give you a brief overview of graphene, it's a nobel-prize winning material described as "the perfect atomic lattice." At one atom thick, it's thin, strong, outperforms other conductors of heat, and is as good as conducting electricity as copper. How does that translate into the makings of a decent jacket? Welp, that's for you to figure out after you've emptied out your wallet.
"When clothing can start conducting heat and electricity all sorts of cool things can start happening," said one of the designers, Steve Tidball. "It means that over the next decade your clothing can start to become a platform for other innovations. And that’s really what we’re interested in. Heating is not the end game.
"Our view is that wearable technology will become increasingly invisible over the next 10 to 20 years. Instead of wearing it over your eyes or on your wrist, it will be embedded as clothing and tech simply merge. We think graphene’s ability to conduct heat and power and withstand insane forces, while adding zero mass, will make it central to the story."
Vollebak , the company behind the jacket, worked with production partners in Italy and Portugal who were behind Speedo's LZR Racer swimsuit that increased swimmers' performance to such a degree that it was banned after the 2008 Beijing Olympics with accusations of "technological doping."
This jacket isn't going to get you an Olympic medal anytime soon, but if walking around as a giant conductor floats your boat, then you're in luck.
"By putting Graphene Jackets out into the world as experimental prototypes, our aim is to open up our R&D process and accelerate discovery by getting graphene out of the research labs and into the field" Tidball added. "And we’re looking to harness the collective power of early adopters as a test group to do it.
"Together they’re some of the smartest and most hardcore guys in the world – adventurers, entrepreneurs, scientists – so we believe that between them they’re likely to discover things that we simply don’t know. It brings massive scale to our ability to experiment with the material to see how it behaves.”
So if you want to blow hundreds of pounds on a wearable science experiment, fill your boots.