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By Lauren Vadnjal
January 19, 2016
By Lauren Vadnjal
January 19, 2016

Sure, it doesn't get that cold in Australia, but there are certainly times when a wearable heater wouldn't go astray. Anyone who's been to Hobart in July will surely attest to that. So our future shivering selves are pretty happy to hear about the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) latest development: a material that can store heat from the sun, and release it back to you on demand when you get chilly. That is, solar-powered heated clothes.

The material MIT's researchers have developed is made from a polymer film, which they say soaks up energy from the sun and stores it in a chemical state. Storing it in this chemical state then lets the wearer reactivate it later and release it as heat. You'd be able to decide when to release it, and how much to release — all depending on how freezing it is, and how cosy you want to be. Researchers claim that, when activated, the material will be able to heat up by 15 degrees. Imagine the toastiness levels of a jacket that warm. We'd never get out of that thing.

But it's not just clothing that this material could work for. As the polymer is a transparent film, it could be applied to heaps of different surfaces, including car windows. They could store the sun's heat during the day, and then use that heat to melt a layer of ice the next morning — or the next week.

Looks like we're one step closer to finding our personal, portable heated nirvana. But don't throw away that Snuggie just yet — the material is still in development at MIT, so it might be a while until our thermostat jacket makes its way onto your body. 

Via Ecouterre. Image: Dollar Photo Club. 

Published on January 19, 2016 by Lauren Vadnjal


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