On March 11th-12th, DESTEX partners have completed the second Hackathon with a challenge launched by C.P. Aluart, a member of AEI Tèxtils, on the creation of the firefighter protective clothing for 2030.
Current firefighting protective garments rely on external layers for fire and heat prevention based on high performance materials. However, those same products are bulky and limit mobility of firefighters. In addition, those layers have poor breathability and may increase the heat fatigue for the firefighter. The challenge aimed to develop new concepts and ideas for wearing future firefighters taking state-of-the-art technologies and textile materials with innovative designs to keep firefighters comfortable while protected and safe, in order to increase performance and prevent heat exhaustion. This means from one side to exploit new materials and integrated sensors to improve firefighter performances and work (i.e., sensor to detect human parameters or the environment and give info) and form the other to use materials able to provide a good comfort for their activities. To this extent, some key aspects for firefighting clothing are also interior layers (skin-contact), which improved with highly breathable fabrics such as COOLMAX and flame-resistant modifications. These innovations can increase the performance of the overall garment in terms of fire resistance while increasing breathability. In the ideation of the new product new manufacturing processes could be considered as well (i.e., 3d printing). More in details the students were asked to design two possible items: 1) Undergarment; 2) Hood with integrated protection for the shoulders.
C. P. Aluart is a technical textile company founded in 1993 and specialized in the manufacture of fabrics and garments in circular knitwear for personal protection. Its philosophy is to manufacture all products locally to control the manufacturing process and offer the highest quality in the shortest possible time. This type of local manufacturing allows to ensure the non-use of harmful substances that may affect the user’s health or to the environment. When designing a technical product, may it be a fabric or a garment, it is done thinking about the protection that must be offered in each sector and always seeking the maximum comfort for the end user.
The four universities of DESTEX (LCI, POLIMI, DSKD and UB) recruited students to participate in the first hackathon. In total, 9 students participated in 3 teams to complete the challenge. They worked remotely to develop and deliver a solution within 24 hours.
The different developed solutions were presented on the second day of the hackathon where the jury selected the best concept. Breathables is an undergarment to be washed every second day with loose fit design and antibacterial, breathable, and moisture wicking characteristics thanks to the combination of Micromodal fabric, Coex treatments, Bemis sewfree ecosystem, and Fr Elastics. Protective Hood is a seamless and lightweight inner hood protecting the firefighters from toxic gases while providing the maximum comfort, by 3D knitting. It uses sensors to measure dangerous substances in the air and to alert with a vibration motor.
The winning project is Hero’s Comvi, an underwear shirt that aims to provide extra comfort, monitor health and make communication between firefighters easier. The fire-resistant spacer fabric in the shoulder pads provides comfort while wearing heavy equipment. By integrating photodiode yarns into the shirt, the shirt is able to measure heart rate and blood oxygen saturation. If one of these values diverges, the firefighter will be notified with vibrations. To make communication easier and more convenient, knitted stretched sensors are added to the bottom of the shirt. A different command can be programmed to each sensor, allowing firefighters to simply pull the strings to communicate their two most used commands (like ‘victim localized’ and ‘I need oxygen refresh’). The winning team was awarded free and direct access to the DESTEX summer school that will be held in Milan in June 2021.
In the next weeks, DESTEX staff will organize the third virtual hackathon with a challenge from Fili Pari, on designing accessories from marble-based fabric’s scraps. The third Hackathon will take place on April 22nd and 23rd. Applications are open until April 14th.
DESTEX main objective is to promote the uptake of creativity culture as a catalyst to unlock the innovation potential in the advanced textile materials’ sector. DESTEX is developing a set of tools to bridge industrial and creative design to the manufacturing companies in the advanced textile materials’ sector.