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‘Practical Techie:’ Tech Garb, technological clothing for pandemic times

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The 2020 pandemic separates us, but the Web keeps us together. In these weird times, dressmakers, tailors and fashion designers turn to high technology to offer clothing that will help us survive the medical dangers of travel or to deal with social distancing.

OVERALLS  One of the most recent novelties is a suit designed for travel in romper style that is able to breathe through the fabric, which keeps the person cool and refreshed while in cramped quarters. It is worn over regular clothing and once the person reaches their destination, they take it off and dispose of it, or if they prefer, clean and recycle to travel again. It’s in one piece to seal the user against possible infections. Of course, you must wear a transparent mask or protector during the entire time you travel. And since it’s a high-fashion design, the mask matches the romper. In addition to transpiration, the travel suit’s fabric is waterproof. It has elastic bands on the waist, wrist and ankle and a hood to avoid airborne microbes on the hair when it comes into contact with the seats of the plane or train.  

AVIATION — The travel industry has been hardest hit economically since the emergence of the COVID 19 pandemic. It is constantly making adjustments to face the new realities of social distancing, a behavior that goes against the grain of everything which represents traveling: good food together, tourist adventures, dancing, bars, swimming pools, beaches and flying or sailing to different destinations. Airlines such as Air Asia, from the Philippines, redesigned the entire wardrobe of their employees, both at airports and the cabin crews and set up new boarding procedures to go along.

The protocols will help detect infections before a passenger gets on the plane. For their part, the new crew uniforms are more protective. Long sleeves, mask and hood. If one examines them in photos or live, the flight attendant will look more like a nurses in an intensive care unit than an air host.

Equally, Emirates Air is the first airline to carry out on-site and rapid tests to detect the presence of the virus among passengers and prevent them from getting on the plane. It consists of performing a blood test on each traveler with results ready in ten minutes. Likewise, thermal scanners have been installed at the entrance of the airport to check the temperature of all those who access the facilities.

DISTANCES — Another company designs clothes to bridge the social distancing issue. The company H&M Lab, in Germany designed a clothing line dubbed “Sweetheart Dresses.” It is a technology that in essence transforms clothing items into a channel for emotions. Their first product is a denim jacket with tactile elements and a flexible sensor built into the shoulder area that transmits the sensation elicited by actions of human contact. Friends who wear these clothes can send messages about touch, support or express different affections, all at a distance and through digital signals. The user of the interactive jacket feels the message on their body through pressures or vibrations. Each garment has its own specific code.

Author Details
Author Details
Author Rafael Matos is a veteran journalist, a professor of digital narratives and university mentor. He may be contacted at cccrafael@gmail.com.
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