The Seymourpowell design of a new extreme environment smart jacket system, Life Tech, for outdoor sportswear brand Kolon Sport, is part of a next generation wearable technology explosion that in this case, may save your action or extreme sports loving life. Ian Whatley, Associate Director for Seymourpowell, conducted a Q&A for the Sports Techie community blog. Ian shared information about the Life Tech jacket system designed exclusively for Kolon Sport, their company history and the wearable technologies heated clothing Industry. This jacket is a must have at NFL Football games that are played in frozen tundra conditions and stadiums.
Since December 2013, Life Tech has been available at Kolon Glotech stores in South Korean. Seymourpowell designed this life saver for the most extreme environments to be water and wind-proof. The jacket applies relevant wearable technologies, designed by the leading global design and innovation company to save lives in the harshest of condition.
The jacket’s design and features are directly influenced by extensive research and interviews with extreme survival experts. Seymourpowell worked closely with mountaineers and ski guides, a Professor of human thermodynamics, an ex-UK Special Forces operative and even a Polar Explorer. This research gave invaluable insights that have been used to create genuinely innovative and lifesaving features. They are aware that other manufacturers had recalls that were burn related making this a top design priority.
The various technological details of the design include: a tri-layered system made up of an outer waterproof and windproof, breathable Gore PRO outer shell jacket; a thermal inner layer with a Heatex System (the world’s first conductive polymer heating system); and a stretch fabric base layer with electronic device and battery stowage with proximity to core body heat.
Other key technical design features include a wearable wind turbine generator; oversized zip pulls for use with gloves; easy access shoulder and back straps for manhandling a companion in distress; and a wearable first aid and survival kit.
Wind Turbine Generator
The wind turbine mounted onto the sleeve of the jacket can be angled to generate power throughout the day whilst the wearer is on the move. It can also be removed and attached to the exterior of a tent to continue generating power overnight. The turbine can charge auxiliary devices such as GPS and smartphones for essential navigation and communication.
Heatex technology is considered the first heat-generating textile in the world. The traditional electrical “skeleton” is eliminated making the fabric wearable like a regular garment. There is a noticeable lack of heating wires routed through the fabric and it has no removable heating elements throughout the coat.
Heatex fabric is made of a conductive polymer that creates the heat itself. This proprietary fabric has no heat hot spots that you find inside of heated clothing created by other designers.
The Heatex System provides up to seven hours of potentially life saving heat up to a temperature of 40-50°C around vital organs.
The Raccoon Fur liner on the hood of the jacket works effectively to retain heat in the facial zone. The fabric is designed not to be washable and not lose its heating system.
The technology does not add any appreciable weight to the fabric, meaning that it will be lighter than any competitive systems.
The lithium-polymer battery provides up to seven hours of power and warmth while adding just eight ounces (230 grams) to the premier jacket. The smaller, 3.5-ounce (100-gram) battery pack operates at half the run time.
There is a smartphone temperature control app. In addition to a hard remote control, a smartphone app can be used to switch between high (~ 122ºF/50ºC), medium (~ 113ºF/45ºC) and low (~ 104ºF/40ºC) heat. The app has GPS tracking, routing and emergency location forwarding, adding some extra functionality for the outdoor Sports Techie likely to be wearing Heatex garments.
Brand Apparel Merchandising team, Min Woo Woo said: “Our latest ‘Life Tech Jacket’ is equipped with the highest techniques that demonstrate the core concept of conserving lives in life-threatening environments.”
“Based on close observation and studies of experts from various outdoor professions, the Life Tech Jacket was built to meet the fundamental and technological needs for survival. The convergence of various wearable smart technologies and design applied to Kolon Sports’ Life Tech jacket reflect our commitment to providing the latest in life style innovation for our customers over the world.”
Seymourpowell, Associate Design Director, Ian Whatley, answered our Sports Techie questions below and provided valuable insight about the jackets design specs, features and objectives.
Ian said: “The Life Tech jacket is pioneering in its relevant and effective use of wearables. The system uses the latest technology to meet the most essential of human needs such as shelter, warmth and communication, in ways that conventional garments simply can’t achieve.”
Whatley shared how, “The concept was born from the invaluable insights gathered by working with leading experts in extreme survival; so we’re absolutely confident that the design and features are based on solid foundations. Our design team has translated these insights into a highly desirable and compelling jacket system that sets the standard for the future of wearable technology in the extreme outdoors and winter sports categories”.
Q&A with Ian Whatley (answers in italics)
1. Are wearable technologies a new must have option in jackets and apparel for survivalist and extreme sports environments?
– Not necessarily. This project is a show case product for Kolon. They use it as an opportunity to demonstrate their technologies and capabilities.
2. What truly sets this Seymourpowell designed fashionable jacket apart from the look and feel of any competitors in this fast emerging market?
– I think when we talk about ‘look and feel’ we enter the realms of subjectivity.
3. Can you talk more about the thermal inner layer with a Heatex System (the world’s first conductive polymer heating system) that provides up to seven hours of potentially life saving heat up to a temperature of 40-50°C around vital organs?
– There is a good description further down this page:
4. Why is the stretch fabric base layer with electronic device and battery stowage with proximity to core body heat significant?
– Batteries discharge more quickly in cold weather. By positioning them close to the body’s core the life of the battery can be protected.
5. Is the wind turbine mounted onto the sleeve proprietary Seymourpowell technology, and is it easy to operate worldwide?
– The application of a wearable wind turbine is a concept that Seymourpowell presented to our client Kolon Sport. The technology was productionised by Kolon Sport.
6. How does the wearable first aid and survival kit option work?
– It is positioned permanently on the body of the wearer and so is ever present regardless of where their rucksack might be. This borrows from the military practice of wearing webbing for first priority items.
7. Is this new sports jacket a Kolon Sport exclusive, and where can interested buyers in Korea and around the world find Life Tech?
– The jacket is for sale here:
About Seymourpowell – The shape of things to come
Seymourpowell is one of the world’s leading design and innovation companies. Founded in 1984 by Richard Seymour and Dick Powell, the London-based group of award-winning designers has produced some of the ‘milestone’ products of the last two decades. The company is now part of Writtle Holdings.
Seymourpowell is currently 95 people, combining a design studio, research centre, materials library and prototyping workshop.
Seymourpowell has a unique holistic approach to design and innovation, which combines in depth experience and up to date intelligence about people, markets and businesses. The company has the ability to forecast and interpret the vital implications of behaviors and work out future scenarios to give its clients the confidence and reassurance they are making the right decision.
Seymourpowell is skilled in exploiting ideas that create real value and always look to move clients forward creatively. Seymourpowell is not just a company of visionary thinkers, but future ‘doers’. Ultimately, Seymourpowell is about making things better: better for people, better for business and better for the world.
Specialisms include design innovation, transportation design, ethnographic user research, strategy and new product development (NPD), trends and forecasting, product design and development, 3D structural design and 2D graphic design. www.seymourpowell.com
Sports Techie, Our community gratitude goes to Seymourpowell and Ian Whatley for answering our questions. It looks as if the green and yellow jackets are already sold out, good for Kolon Sport. The market responded positively to this unique design by Seymourpowell who obviously did their homework by getting expert feedback while making sure the burn issue is a non factor.
The Heatex System is a difference maker for Kolon Sport as are all the technological goodies designed by Seymourpowell to keep a person alive during lifetime adventures and outings in the harshest conditions on the planet. The wind turbine generator is a one of a kind. Upgrading to the wearable first aid and survival kit if you can might be a no-brainer.
In a sign that the wearable technology revolution is being driven by the fashion industry, the Kolon Sport Life Tech jacket demonstrates the effectiveness of wearable technology in clothing when there is a genuine need for it.
This extreme environment smart jacket system created by Seymourpowell is a new sports technology category in a massive Industry. I like how it can be both the outer layer and heating unit. If you need a heated garment with Gore Tex designed to keep weather like ice, snow and rain in check, while not only retaining heat but generating warmth with sport tech components, Life Tech by KolonSport is it.
I will see ya when I see ya, THE Sports Techie @THESportsTechie – http://twitter.com/THESportsTechie
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