Tech-fashion startup Ministry of Supply was launched in 2011 by four former MIT students with a very particular design philosophy: to combine the comfortability and function of athletic wear with the presentation of everyday clothing using aerospace-inspired engineering.
Quickly gaining funding through Kickstarter, Ministry of Supply has since created clothes for men and women that use similar materials and thermal engineering to NASA’s spacesuits. Their upcoming Mercury smart jacket is their most ambitious product yet. Check it out in this video:
Ministry of Supply claims that the Mercury jacket is “everything-proof”. Everything includes water and water vapor. The dual-layer breathable membrane allows water vapor to escape the jacket while preventing water droplets from getting in, allowing them to slide off easily and keeping the jacket dry.
The jacket is also odor-proof, as the liner contains coffee grounds that absorb and neutralize odors. Like athletic wear, the liner of the jacket is designed for maximum flexibility, and it’s machine washable. The jacket contains four spacious primary pockets, including a pouch for your phone that charges it wirelessly.
The Mercury jacket is designed to keep you warm in a wide variety of settings, from the city to the mountains. The jacket’s built-in heaters are designed to feel as weightless and natural as possible, so it just feels like you’re wearing a normal jacket. The built-in thermostat determines the temperature of both your surroundings and your own body heat, learning about the places you spend the most time at. The machine learning algorithm then determines how warm you’d prefer the jacket to be. You can use an app to tell the jacket to become warmer or cooler, and as you wear it more often, the algorithm will start to pick up on and automatically adjust to your preferences.
You can also talk to a voice assistant like Alexa to adjust the temperature of your jacket, though you may look like a crazy person if you use this feature in public. The jacket also has built-in accelerometers that determine how much you’re moving, which then tells the heaters to adjust the temperature of the jacket accordingly.
The included battery simply sits in one of the pockets of the jacket and is easily removable for when you want to wash. As the jacket learns your preferences, it will learn how to save power accordingly, allowing the battery to be used for up to 4 weeks without being charged. The battery and heating functions work right out of the box, so no calibration is required. The algorithm will adjust to your temperature and lifestyle automatically.
The Mercury jacket releases next month. You can back the Kickstarter here.