Ever dreamt of wearing a full-body nicotine patch? Can't say I have, either, but if you're one of the rare few out there who can't escape this fantasy, then Switzerland-based fabric firm Schoeller Textiles' "iLoad" technology might be exactly what you're looking for.
Seven years in the making, the company very recently won a Swiss Innovation Award for reaching the "maturity" stage with the technology. iLoad fabrics can be doped with a specific drug and delivered over time to the wearer's skin. Then, once the fabric has done its job, it can be traditionally washed and reloaded with the same or a different drug.
Deployment of the embedded drug can be triggered by motion, heat and perspiration, which explains why Schoeller is currently marketing the product to the sports garment and workwear industries. However, it believes iLoad has potential in other fields, including medicine, and is looking for partners to help expand its capabilities and uses.
The specifics of the technology are not exactly easy to describe, but the company's communications manager Dagmar Signer has given it a crack anyway:
The iLoad system consists firstly of an eligible base fabric onto which a special donor layer is applied and anchored. In the subsequent loading process, the donor layer, which coats every fibre of the fabric, is combined with a specific emulsion with the required active substances, for example from the area of homeopathy ... Like a magnet, the negatively charged donor layer attracts the positively charged customised active agent emulsion and stores it like a sponge. The loading process takes just a few minutes and can be carried out using only the rinse programs in both industrial and domestic washing machines.
The benefits of such a fabric are clear, be it dispensing life-saving medicines or combating formidable body odours or skin disorders. And, of course, transforming those unsightly nicotine patches into casual dinner jackets.
I'm just wondering when Apple will jump down their throats for the using the "i" naming convention. It's not a matter of if, but when, sadly.