Stoll, German advanced knitting machine manufacturer, in collaboration with Nottingham Trent University has created a smart balaclava which warms oxygen before being inhaled to reduce the risk of athletes contracting chest infections when exercising in the cold.
Created on its CMS ADF 32 BW flat knitting machine, the mask is fully washable. It features 3D-knitted pre-shape qualities for a more comfortable fit. Reflective stripes are included for passive visibility. The technology centres on a knitted patch of electric-conductive yarn over nose and mouth which emits heat when charged with an electric current. It is connected to a knitted power socket at the back of the balaclava, which contains a plus and minus pole to connect a rechargeable cell battery.
Electricity cannot be felt by the wearer as the current is so low. But when the battery is inserted, the power comes on and the area around the nose and mouth warms up.
It may be mentioned that the balaclava has won the Outdoor Industry Award in Gold 2016.