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Membrane could offer “generational advancement” in moisture management

Electrokinetic technology specialist Osmotex presented a smart moisture management solution for performance and outdoor clothing at the recent ISPO exhibition in Munich (February 5-8).

The technology, which it calls Hydro_Bot, is an active membrane that use a small electric pulse to drive moisture away from the body. The company said that “no other current solution on the market allows for a similar performance”. 

The company was aiming to create a moisture management system that matches the rates at which humans sweat under various climatic conditions and during different levels of activity. The membrane they have created it able to adapt to these changing circumstances. It is designed to complement rather than replace conventional fabrics and membranes. 

The electronic component of the technology allows the performance of the membrane to be controlled via a smartphone application. It takes its input from sensors, weather stations and other services to determine the level of moisture movement required. Osmotex said that the membrane reduces the humidity inside a garment, as well as removing sweat. It can transport up to 200 litres/m2 in an hour. 

“Hydro_Bot is the result of ten years of intense research and development in Switzerland,” explained Trond Helda, director of R&D and operations at Osmotex and the lead researcher on this project. “We are confident that Hydro_Bot will represent a generational advancement in moisture management."

Osmotex has worked with partners from across the supply chain to develop the technology. Swiss textile developed Schoeller was its production partner, helping the company to create the fabric panels. It recruited wearable technology company Belginova for the technology aspect of the project and said that Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, played a key role in the research phase. 

Following the launch of the technology in Munich, Osmotex is to continue intensive testing and is targeting limited production of garments by the end of the year. 2018 will see the launch of the first commercial products featuring the technology. They will come from Swiss sportswear brand Kjus, which is incorporating it into its skiwear products for the 2018/19 season. It will also begin exploring other potential applications for Hydro_Bot.

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