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May 10th, 2007
New fabric will kill germs
Ever felt your clothes could be doing more for you? Help may be at hand from a collaboration between American scientists and designers, whose range of futuristic clothes use nanotechnology to destroy viruses such as cold and flu bugs, and scrub pollutants from the air.
Juan Hinestroza, a chemical engineer at Cornell University, New York, has been called in by the US military to brief them on his idea. Clothes coated in nanoparticles that could neutralise dangerous biological and chemical agents would prove useful.
The clothes are a result of collaboration between Dr Hinestroza and Olivia Ong, a designer who wanted to incorporate nanoparticles into her fashion line. She had been inspired by living in the smog of Los Angeles. "There's a lot of pollution so I thought we could use technology and clothing to prevent it," she said.
Dr Hinestroza designed a "personal air purification system" to incorporate particles of metal, such as silver, that are thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair. They cling to the clothes and can kill specific viruses or bacteria.
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