Scientists in Switzerland have developed an air-conditioned bulletproof vest, giving police officers on duty during hot summer days at least one less reason to sweat.
While typical bulletproof vests don’t allow for the release of water, the newly developed variety contains a built-in cooling system, making them useful to law enforcement officials and soldiers who spend long hours in the sun.
Developed by Swiss materials company Empa, the Kevlar vests employ coolpads—a technology already designed by the firm for use in medical applications. These thin and flexible coolpads are filled with water and built into the garment. The cooling process begins when the water inside the pads slowly evaporates through their thin membranes, making the entire area around it colder. To make things even chillier, tiny fans distribute the cool air around the wearer’s entire body.
Air-conditioned bulletproof vests are not entirely new, but according to Empa scientists, engineering the latest cooling system was no easy feat. For one thing, there were no fans on the market small enough to be built within the bulletproof vest. To solve the problem, the company’s engineers designed their own tiny versions.
Scientists also had to figure out how to keep the pads from leaking—a problem they eventually solved by welding the membranes with diode lasers to make them stronger.
Empa claims its vests are lighter and cool better than those currently on the market and the police force in Zürich seems to agree. Officers in the Swiss city have already tested out the technology and are reportedly pleased with its cool-down effects.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com