A technology developed to protect astronauts has been introduced into clothing that relieves symptoms of menopause in women. Although there are individual differences, women suffer from hot flashes, sweating, and insomnia when their hormonal balance is disrupted around their mid to late 40s.
A company called Fifty One Apparel in the US recently introduced functional clothing that reduces discomfort in menopausal women through a research fund and technology partnership with NASA.
The material for the clothes is a phase transferable fiber developed by NASA for use in space suits. A phase transition refers to a change in the shape of a substance from a liquid to a solid or vice versa depending on external conditions such as temperature or pressure.
NASA developed the material for spacesuit gloves in the 1980s, centering on the Houston Johnson Space Center. The insulation of the gloves has been improved for smooth mission performance of astronauts exposed to extreme conditions. At that time, NASA engineers jointly developed with a company called Triangle Research to utilize a phase-change material that changes phase and maintains a constant temperature.
They succeeded in maintaining the temperature of the astronaut gloves in a stable state by embedding a microcapsule inside the phase change material. However, this technology was not applied to actual space suits, and a company called Outlast Technology purchased a patent and made various products such as underwear and racing clothes.
Fifty One Apparel, which started manufacturing functional clothing for menopausal women in 2017, paid attention to this phase transition fiber. Fibers that absorb heat in hot weather to lower body temperature and release energy stored in cold weather thought that women’s menopausal symptoms could be alleviated. The clothing created in this way was initially four types of tops, but has now been expanded to include bottoms, pajamas, scarves, and masks.
A company official said, “According to the National Aging Research Institute, about 1 million women a year suffer from menopause in the United States alone.” “The symptoms of menopause are easy to pass on to women of a certain age, but in severe cases they can lead to severe depression. do,” he emphasized.
Meanwhile, NASA is delivering cutting-edge technologies developed through space exploration to the private sector through the ‘NASA Technology Transfer Program’. There are many more examples of ideas or technologies devised by NASA researchers being fully or partially applied. A typical example is a CMOS image sensor or memory foam of a digital camera that is used on a daily basis.
Reporter Jeong Ian [email protected]