Swiss company Empa has created a new bulletproof vest with built-in air conditioning, designed to make protective gear more comfortable.
Sportswear has been considerably refined over the years for enhanced breathability and performance under various weather conditions, but improvements to protective gear that must be worn by police officers and others in the line of duty have been less forthcoming. Enter Swiss Empa, which has created a new bulletproof vest with built-in air conditioning. Kevlar is the material that gives many bulletproof vests their protective properties, but along with that impenetrability comes a lack of breathability. For the wearer, the result is considerable discomfort and a tendency to sweat profusely in warm weather. Empa’s solution includes an integrated cooling system based on the company’s Coolpad technology, which was originally designed for use in medical applications. The vest’s internal Coolpad is filled with water, which is allowed to evaporate to promote cooling. A miniature built-in fan, meanwhile, blows air though a soft and flexible fabric spacer behind the pad, providing further cooling. To refill the coolpads, a portable filling station can be attached to the vest with a quick-release fastener. At the same time, mini fans can be exchanged for those with freshly charged batteries ensuring the vest is ready for another three to four hours of duty, Empa says. The new vest has already been tested by Zürich’s police force, and production will begin soon, according to the company website. Specialty clothing entrepreneurs and retailers: one to get involved in? Spotted by: Hemanth Chandrasekar