This High-Tech Bikini Uses a Supermaterial to Absorb Ocean Pollutants


"Green" clothing that's eco-conscious has been gaining steam and support in the fashion world in recent years. But clothing that literally cleans the planet of sewage, waste and oil takes things to a new level. 

Engineers at University of California, Riverside, have designed a swimsuit called the SpongeSuit that soaks up pollutants in the bodies of water we swim in, turning you into into a living Swiffer for environmentally dangerous contaminants. The design won a competition by digital research organization Reshape.

The suit is made of two pieces. The top is a custom 3-D printed cage, easily recognizable by the lattice-work pattern common in 3-D printed fashion contraptions. Inside is the interchangeable material that actually soaks up the toxins.


The material itself, which the engineers just call "Sponge," is a cheap derivative of sugar that is highly resistant to absorbing water, but can absorb up to 25 times its weight in contaminants. 

Once you've swum around enough and fully soaked the suit in problematic pollutants, the material can be removed, incinerated into a liquid form, and recycled into a new sponge insert.


"This design can be developed in to different outfits: bathing suits, mayokini [and] swimming caps," the researchers write on the splash page for the project. 

"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."