Clothing With Built In Micro Fans Set To Keep You Cool This Summer
With Australia tipped to swelter through a hot summer, a new range of high-tech clothing with built in fans have emerged, they have been described as ideal for construction workers and people exercising outside.
The Japanese developed clothing has small battery-powered fans that circulate air over the wearer’s body, the concept is already popular overseas.
First developed by Tokyo-based company Kuchofuku Co for the construction industry the designers have now moved into sportswear, high-street fashion and even baby products and are looking for distributors in Australia.
Among the range of cooling options is baby harness cover and a pushchair seat that both feature Kuchofuku fan technology.
The fan-fitted jackets feature two fans, one placed on each side of the lower back, which pump air around the upper body.
The fans are connected to a lithium-ion battery, which slips into an inside pocket and can generally be used for around seven or eight hours before it needs to be recharged
The technology was invented by Hiroshi Ichigaya, a Sony engineer in 1991.
Several years later, Ichigaya travelled to Southeast Asia, where he noticed how widespread the use of air-conditioning units was.
He decided to try to invent a more energy-efficient way of cooling people down and, after striking upon the idea of fitting small fans to clothing, he hooked up with Kuchofuku.
In a hint of what could be heading to Australia, Japan has experienced a historically hot summer this year, with the east of the country sweating through an August that was 2.1 degrees hotter than in an average year — the biggest such difference since records began in 1946 claim observers.
Recently Kuchofuku has recently launched a range of clothes aimed at people who play golf or other outdoor pursuits.
One issue that could put people off is that big garments often puff up because the technology works by constantly circulating air around the body, causing the garment to puff up like a balloon.
“The clothes puff up because the cooling mechanism is effective,” says Hiroki Sato, a spokesperson for Hiroshima-based workwear company Sun-S. “So, if you think too much about how it looks and try too much to make it slimline, it won’t be very effective. It feels coolest when you’ve got sleeves, so you have to think about how cool it will feel if you make something that doesn’t have sleeves. We’re thinking about how we can achieve the balance between what it looks like and how effective it is.”