Finally, the sex appeal shot in the arm that environmental conservatism has been waiting for.
Have you ever found yourself taking a dip off the shores of your favorite beach and wondering, "Gee, I wish I could help clean up the ocean *while* enjoying my leisure time?" Well now, you can!
That's thanks to UC Riverside electrical engineering professor Mihri Ozkan, who recently unveiled The Sponge Suit bikini: a water-repelling, recyclable, and highly porous swimsuit made from carbon materials that actually absorbs many of pollutants currently found in our oceans. As demonstrated in the above video, The Sponge Suit absorbs everything *except* water and traps the contaminants in its pores to keep them from coming into contact with the wearer's skin.
Capable of absorbing up to 25 times its own weight, the Sponge Suit then releases the contaminants it has absorbed when and only when it is heated to temperatures above 1,000 degrees Celsius.
Ozkan, who worked with the New York and Istanbul based design firm Eray Carbajo to construct the bikini, also claims that The Sponge Suit is incredibly cost efficient to produce, thanks in no small part to the fact that it can be 3D printed.
"This is a super material that is not harmful to the environment and very cost effective to produce," said Ozkan.
"The form of the Sponge Suit is inspired by the super-porous, mesh-like structure of the Sponge material. The final form of the 3D print shell was obtained through the various iterations of the same undulating form. The filler amount and the allocation were identified by creating several design alternatives, considering the form and the ergonomics of the human body, while pushing the limits in translucent swimwear design."
Obviously, the practicality of this suit is dubious at best in terms of the real-life impact it would have, but the endgame for Ozkan is to use the technology to revolutionize how we think about our carbon footprint in even the most casual of times.
"This design can be developed into different outfits: bathing suits, mayokini, swimming caps. Reprogrammability, recyclability and affordability are intriguing properties of the technology, allowing room for further research and development in clean-tech wearable," she continued.
"We aim for a future where everyone, with any shape and form of swimming outfit, can contribute to the cleanliness of the seas by a sports activity or simply a leisurely summer vacation."
So ladies, how many of you will be putting one of these on your Wish Lists for next summer?