Intelligent Products: Green Milk Bottles, Thermo-Regulating Clothing

Building shaped like milk bottle

Image via Wikipedia

What if your milk bottle turned green when the milk inside had expired? Imagine your plate could calculate the amount of calories it was holding. Or that your clothing recognised the temperature and adapted accordingly, to keep you cool when it was hot and warm when it was cold.

You may recognise these ideas from a series of TV adverts by Sasol, which were aired in 2004. At the time, Sasol’s aim was to show their company philosophy and tendency to think “why not?” by suggesting how ideas could be combined with science to produce innovative products. Since it’s been seven years since the adverts were aired, I thought to myself: has anyone tried to make any of these futuristic, intelligent products?

In the case of the thermo-regulating clothing, that would be a ‘yes’. The Sasol ad suggested that the clothing could vary the amount of air it allows through the fabric in order to warm or cool the wearer. Gore-tex’s Airvantage Insulation Technology attempts to do this – but wearer inflates or deflates the clothing depending on the temperature.

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