When it comes to dealing with environmental pollution and degradation, all of us have the responsibility of doing our bit to make the planet a cleaner and greener place. Based on this philosophy, the new Sponge Suit bikini features an innovative wearable technology that aims at cleansing our oceans and waterways, by absorbing a tiny amount of the contaminants each time a person goes for a swim. Made via 3D printing and advanced clean-tech material research, it combines style and sustainability, while at the same time transforming the commonplace experience of swimming into a wonderfully eco-friendly, awareness-raising activity.
Designed by an enterprising team, comprised of Pinar Guvenc, Gonzalo Carbajo, Inanc Eray and Marco Mattia Cristofori, the Sponge Suit comes in two parts: the outer mesh-like shell created using 3D printed elasto-plastic; a substance which lends it flexibility as well as the strength for encapsulating a specially-engineered filler material. The bikini derives its amazing pollutant-absorbing ability from an ultra-hydrophobic carbon-based filler, known as Sponge, whose unique porosity allows it to easily separate the contaminants from the water.
The Sponge is capable of absorbing nearly 25 times its own weight, without compromising the comfort of the wearer. The absorbed pollutants are released only when the material is heated to very high temperatures of around 1000 degrees Celsius. Another important feature of the filler is its ability to return to its original liquid form, once the waste materials have been completely discarded. It can then be reshaped into a new, ready-to-use swimwear.
Weighing a mere 54 gm, the bikini is about 250 sq cm in area and approximately 2 millimeters in thickness. What is more, the technology is well-suited for affordable, mass-scale production, with the cost of manufacturing one gram of the Sponge being only around 15 cents. According to the developers, the design can be used to make different types of a bathing suits, mayokini and even swim caps. It was awarded the first prize at the recent Reshape 15 Wearable Technology contest.