SOAK: The Sweat Sensitive Textile

Smart textiles and coatings continue to revolutionize the way we live and take every day problems off our hands. One is the importance of staying well hydrated, particularly when working out. But this is not always easy. SOAK is a textile coating specifically developed for clothing that helps us to easily determine exactly how well hydrated we actually are!

Human sweat contains numerous substances such as acids and mineral. The presence and amount of these substances tells us a lot about our body’s health. As the wearer sweats, patterns of the SOAK coating applied articles of clothing change colour, communicating whether or not the wearer’s sweat has healthy water/base levels. It warns the wearer when s/he is dehydrated or if the acid levels of the body (caused by bad diet habits) are too high.

The reaction of the coating varies of color, with a spectrum between blue, green, yellow and brown, it colors blue when the wearer is well hydrated and has a healthy amount of acids in his system. When the wearer is dehydrated the coating turns yellow to brown. In example, when you worked out after having multiple cups of coffee on that day, the coating turns brown, indicating the body is dehydrated (as result of the caffeine in this case).

Unlike other body monitoring product such as sport watches, this coating communicates body centered information to its wearer. It does not tell its wearer how to better your exercise in comparison to last time or if your body is performing better. It shares insight in the condition of the inner body, as too low water levels effect skin and hair conditions and cause acid levels in the body that effect your health. It creates a quantified-self that is focussed on body-centered results rather than numbers that make you compete with others or yourself.

SOAK was designed by Paulien Routs, a designer researcher specializing in Tech Embodiment & Dress Logistics along with collaborators Droog Design and the help of cosmetic chemistry lab Thewa Innovations, aesthetic doctor Annebeth Kroeskop and the Dutch Cosmetics Association.

Currently the designer is consulting as to the application of the coating and its ability to support sport activities, or health improvements.