A pair of graduate students at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Sue Ngo and Niem Lam, have created a shirt that changes color when exposed to carbon monoxide.
The shirts display either lungs or a heart, feature a “dime-sized carbon monoxide sensor” with a microcontroller that sends electrical currents through the shirts, warming wires that run under the shirt’s image. “Because the organs are made of thermochromic fabric that changes color dramatically when heated, blue veins become visible when the sensor finds toxins in the air,” reports the New York Daily News. (You might recognize this temperature-sensitive color changing fabric from those shirts made in the early 1990’s called Hypercolor, manufactured by Generra Sportswear Co.)
The students are looking for a way to mass produce the shirts more cheaply than the $60 worth of material they currently cost. They would also like to organize people to wear them around the city and are experimenting with other kinds of sensors like an alcohol detector.
Check out a video of the product on the streets of New York City: