The Down-Less Down Jacket converts infrared light to heat


Japanese manufacturer Sumitomo Metal Mining Co has showcased its heat-producing Solament material in a jacket displayed at the annual SXSW festival in Austin, Texas.

Sumitomo Metal Mining Co collaborated with consultant Droga5 Tokyo and fashion designer Kosuke Tsumura to create the jacket as a way of demonstrate the innovative material’s potential.

Named the Down-Less Down Jacket, the coat has a typical puffer jacket silhouette, but is hollow between the transparent layers of material where the feathers of a traditional down jacket would be contained.

Down-less Down puffer jacketDown-less Down puffer jacket
Down-Less Down Jacket uses infrared-retaining technology to warm the wearer

Instead of using feathers or a synthetic material for warmth, the jacket’s Solament material utilises a particle developed by Sumitomo Metal Mining Co called CWO to absorb near-infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye.

The material converts the near-infrared light it into heat, warming the body “instantly”.

“The apparel industry is known for having one of the highest environmental footprints,” said Tsumura. “Solament is a fascinating, futuristic material harnessing solar energy.”

“It grants excellent warmth, enabling effects comparable to down jackets without using actual down,” he continued.

Close-up of nanonparticle CWOClose-up of nanonparticle CWO
It utilises a nanoparticle that can both produce and block heat

Beyond the heating potential, the company said that the material can also be used to block heat. It believes the material could have multiple applications – for example on automobile windows.

SMM said that experiments using the material for glass and vinyl have shown five to 10 Celsius drops in indoor temperatures.

According to the firm, it is working with Tsumura to develop a sun hat that would test the heat-shading capabilities in terms of apparel. The company also said the material could have applications relating to privacy.

“The worries associated with infrared-based illicit activities from cameras, seeing through swimwear, will become a thing of the past,” said SMM.

“Athletes, for example, will be able to focus on giving their all without any privacy concerns.”

The Down-Less Down Jacket was shown at the Creative Industries Expo at SXSW in Austin, Texas in early March. Other technologies revealed at SXSW included a suite of developments by 3D construction company ICON, including a crane-mounted 3D printed that can print multi-storey structures as well as a low-carbon 3D printing mixture.

Recently, MIT developed a “4D-knit dress” using heat to shape 3D-printed textiles.

The photography is courtesy of Sumitomo Metal Mining Co.

SXSW 2024 took place from 8 to 16 March in various locations around Austin. For more events, talks and exhibitions in architecture and design visit Dezeen Events Guide.



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