In the summer heat, these clothing gadgets can help you stay cool

by

Staff Writer

Feeling the heat? An exhibition in Tokyo is showcasing clothes, tools and technologies that can bring a cool breeze to the hottest day.

Heat Solution Tokyo 2016 opened on Wednesday at the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition center in Koto Ward and runs through Friday.

“Most of the products are wearable items and facilities to be used inside factories to keep workers safe from heat,” said Hiroyuki Kanai, a spokesman for the Japan Management Association, which organized the fair.

Kanai said the expo aims to raise awareness in the manufacturing sector and the construction industry about the risks of heat-related maladies, including heatstroke and heat exhaustion.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Wednesday that ambulances were called to take 3,099 people to hospitals for such problems in the week starting July 11. Though this represented a drop of one-third from a week earlier, the agency said heat-related sicknesses remain a serious problem.

Many exhibitors at the show are displaying clothes that help keep workers’ core temperatures lower.

Spokeswoman Keiko Kaneyuki of Sun-S Co. was among them, wearing a jacket with a built-in fan. “We have many designs of jackets, from those suitable for factories or construction sites to casual ones for use in outdoor leisure,” she said.

The jackets have two electric fans on either side of the waist, which blow cool air over the torso. A rechargeable battery powers the fan for up to five hours.

Meanwhile, fabric company Teikoku Sen-I Co. demonstrated the Jaxa Cosmode vest, a product developed in conjunction with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

The vest contains thin tubes in which chilled water flows from an external water tank.

“The vest is meant to be used by workers on construction sites or at factories, and by staff dressed up as characters at amusement parks,” spokesman Akio Maeda said.

The vest maintains a temperature of 4 degrees for up to 30 minutes with just a liter of water, but an upcoming version will use a powered water chiller unit that keeps cool indefinitely, at a precisely controlled temperature of between 0 and 20 degrees. The vest may also find uses in medicine, the spokesman said.

Electronics giant Fujitsu Ltd. has developed a device using “internet of things” technology that helps managers to keep track of workers.

The vital-sign-sensing wrist band uses Bluetooth technology to communicate with an Android application or other computer program.

Managers receive alerts in real time when high temperatures and humidity or an overly fast heartbeat are detected, said spokesman Katsuya Miyoshi of Fujitsu’s IoT Business Front Center.

“When the value goes above set amount, it automatically sends an alert to managers and tells them what to do,” he said.