With several innovative products or wearables coming out in the market that’s not even ‘essential’ for every day, Indian engineers had ideated one of the coolest products ever that warms you – an AI Jacket that keeps your body Warm in extreme cold conditions like below 00C.
Neel Panchal and Khushboo Patel have built this AI-powered ‘Smart’ Jacket made of graphene targeting the armed forces personnel to stay warm and comfortable even during harsh climates.
Sowed in 2019, the idea developed over the years into a consumable product not just for the military but also civilians.
Start of the Idea
Khushboo Patel, an Engineering graduate from Surat was introduced to Neel Panchal who is a co-founder of graphene manufacturing startup LHP Nanotechnologies in 2019, when he was in search of a talent to develop a wearable garment out of graphene for the armed forces.
Khushboo Patel been on a similar project during her studies, the duo began working on the concept after then. A month later, a preliminary idea came up on their mind, that they presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Army Chief’s House in Delhi on the occasion of Army Day at January of 2020.
Warming AI Jacket
The jacket as explained by the duo resides on the basic principle of graphene that the material generates heat while using low power. Graphene is versatile and efficient to its counterparts, being flexible and strong even as a sheet of thin material.
A study by scientists from University of Manchester’s National Graphene Institute found that clothing made of this compound can make the wearer comfortable, whether the temperatures around are hot or cold. One of its properties – dynamic thermal radiation, meaning that the layers of graphene could change the radiation emitted, depending on temperature, helps though.
The work developed as a garment with user’s control of heat generation at his/her convenience, but shifted this job of control to Artificial Intelligence, since armed forces wouldn’t or shouldn’t be checking on his jacket and adjusting it at times.
“The AI software would learn the wearer’s personal preferences in different settings within a short period of time and then begin to adjust to their comfortable temperature,” says Neel.
What the Smart Jacket can do?
“The graphene material offers effective protection against extreme cold temperatures as low as minus 50 degrees Celsius,” says Khushboo, adding that the property of printed electronics ensures that it does not cause any discomfort to the wearer, along with giving a lightweight feeling.
The jacket is designed in a way that the overlapped front itself confronts oneself from extreme cold and chilly winds that the wearer can withstand up to -30 degrees Celsius, even in the absence of a heating system.
Process of Making
Neel and Khushboo rented out a space in Surat for 12 months as the existing industrial infrastructure isn’t compatible for prototype. Designing and experimenting out the jacket involved a number of parameters, equipment and tools to consider of fitting inside the vest, as army personnel would have to possess.
“The most crucial parameters were the efficiency of the jacket, ensuring a lightweight nature, longer operating time, durability and flexibility. Every element had to be redesigned to withstand the harsh climes,” he adds.
The duo spent 30 months detailing on the jacket and it was made ready to wear on this February 2022.
AI Smart Jacket for All
This coming winter, the jackets will be sent to the Army Design Bureau, from where they will be sent to personnel placed at Ladakh and Siachen. And the jacket will be ready for sale from January, once the performance of the jacket is assessed.
AI Smart Jacket for civilians will be launched at the end of November 2022, as the team is currently working on that. The army version, they say, will be priced between ₹85,000 and ₹1,05,000 while the normal version to cost between ₹25,000 and ₹65,000.
The venture is partially bootstrapped — with the duo investing Rs 7 lakh — and has received government grants worth Rs 27 lakh.
Khushboo says that along with the jacket, efforts have been on to develop apparel-based smart wearables.