The latest in clothing technology! by Jamie Avery
As a kid, we all wanted to climb trees. It was a fun way to pretend and explore, but unfortunately sometimes we fell out of those trees. Hopefully without injury, but you learned the next time you climbed to hang on better. As kids, we had the option to climb, but some adults must climb for other reasons, like their job. Sometimes adults climb for recreation. Whatever the reason we climb, the fear that comes with climbing is the possibility of falling. So I thought to myself, "What animal is a good climber?" and the animal I thought of was a snake.
Snakes are excellent climbers up trees and walls despite their lack of appendages. So how do they do it? With lots of muscles and scales! Yes scales! Those creepy, crawly reptiles that everyone fears so much have lots of scales. These many rows of scales all over the snakes body act as hooks. The snake hangs on with one section of its body while the other part of its body is propelled upward. As its body moves forward the row of scales catch onto the textured surface like a hook allowing the other section of its body to move upward and repeat the process. This adaptation is what inspired the idea behind the “Snarmour” shirt. I designed a shirt that would have snake-like scales in rows on the shirt to create “hooks” that would help the user climb surfaces with rough edges such as trees or rough rock walls. As the user climbs up, the scale is facing down so it slides easily along the surface, but when the user let’s their weight fall down, the scale hooks onto the rough surface helping the user hang there.
Snake pictures source: http://wallarthd.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Snake-Macro-Photography-Wallpaper-Pics.jpg
Prototype 1 - Protection!
Scales help snakes climb, but they also serve another purpose. The scales on a snake are also used for protection of their skin. I thought the scales of the shirt should protect the user as well, like a bulletproof vest, so I decided the scale material would be made of rough slip-resistance bullet proof material. Law enforcement and military personnel would benefit from wearing clothing that helps them climb and protects them from bullets. Each scale would be able to prevent a bullet from penetrating through. Since the scales would be in rows, like on a snake, the user would be completely protected.
Prototype 2- Power Up!
Snakes are cold-blooded reptiles that need the sun to warm their bodies. This idea inspired me to incorporate flexible solar powered panels on each scale. These solar powered scales can be used to power small heaters that keep the user warm or they could also be used as a power source for other things. Again, military and law enforcement personnel sometimes are required to work in the bitter cold, so this would be an added bonus. Hunters would also be interested in clothing that helps them climb trees and keeps them warm. Everyone could use a solar-powered shirt! Who doesn't need warmth in the winter or a little charge for something now and then? Another upgrade is to make the scales more pointed so that it can dig in and grip better onto rough surfaces.
Flexible Solar Panels
Picture source: www.backcountry.com
Flexible Solar Panels
Prototype 3 - Camouflage!
Snake scales also come in a variety of colors, shapes, and patterns. This is so the snake is well camouflaged in its habitat to hide from predators or when stalking its prey. The Snarmour shirt would have smart technology solar panels that could change color to mimick the user’s environment. For instance, if the user is in a wooded area, the shirt would change to browns and greens, if they were in the desert, it would change to creams and tans, and if they were in snow, the shirt would then change to white. Again, I keep thinking of hunters, law enforcement, and military that would use this type of adaptation.