[Video] How We're Making Smart Clothing a Reality

Thumbnail image for 1623619_740366489308277_722121668_n.jpgThe next installment of the Big Ten Network series, “BTN LiveB1G,” will showcase University of Minnesota researchers creating fertilizer from the wind and exploring the future of wearable technology. The episode will debut Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 10:30 p.m. CT, after the Minnesota men’s basketball game vs. Wisconsin.

The show will also air Saturday, Feb. 1 at 3 p.m. (after men’s basketball vs. Northwestern) and Monday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. (after women’s basketball at Michigan State).

Smart Clothes

For Professor Lucy Dunne, director of the Apparel Design Program and Wearable Technology Lab in the College of Design, clothes represent more than a fashion statement – they are potentially life-saving pieces of technology. Her team, which relies heavily on the talent and contributions of students, is exploring ways to integrate technology into clothing design and manufacturing, creating apparel that – for example – could monitor heart rate, sense physiological signals, send and receive messages, and alert wearers to possible dangers with tactile and visual sensors. In recognition of her ongoing work on wearable technology prototypes for use in space, Prof. Dunne will receive NASA’s prestigious Silver Achievement Medal this coming April.

Fertilizer from the Wind

Located in Morris, Minn., the U’s West Central Research and Outreach
Center
(part of the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource
Sciences
) is also home to the only production plant of its kind in the
world. There, University researchers have taken a unique,
interdisciplinary approach to solving important challenges facing the
agriculture industry, economy, energy system and environment. Led by
Mike Reese, the center’s director of renewable energy, the team has
developed a method to combine hydrogen and nitrogen – both chemical
elements present in water and air – to create ammonia that can be used
as eco-friendly fertilizer. This process eliminates the need for fossil
fuel sources in fertilizer production, a limited natural resource that
drives up costs and creates a large carbon footprint.

A1_notext-wind_to_fertilizer_1152x360.jpg“BTN LiveB1G” shines a light on the community of Big Ten students, faculty and alumni who are making a difference in the world through innovations in research, education and community service
.

Check your local listings for where to find the Big Ten Network.

More stories from the College of Design: