"It's Heat Jim, But Not as We Knew It"
After 7 years of development in collaboration with Dr.Tilak Dias of Engineered Fibre Structures Ltd., who recently took up post as Research Professor at Nottingham Trent University, a world reknowned centre of excellence in the development and teaching of technical textiles , we can at last present EXO²'s patented ThermoKnit™ fully integrated knitted heating technology.
First products using ThermoKnit™ : SnowStorm Ski/Outdoor Heated Gloves (see webshop) & Embers Equestrian/Outdoor Heated Gloves. The key challenges faced by all companies designing heated gloves are the trade offs between heating the fingers sufficiently, the size/position of battery packs and the heating time per battery charge. There are numerous heated glove products currently available at all price levels which will heat the tips of the fingers, the palms and other limited areas, but it is then difficult for the heat to spread out effectively and to make a noticeable difference to the user experience in cold conditions. Traditional wire based systems will reach a larger area but are subject to the vagueries of using copper wire, including overheating, breaking and high power draws.
The ThermoKnit™ concept introduces a fully integrated knitted heating layer, operating at very low voltage (3.7V) which contains our highly conductive FabRoc® polymeric heating technology extruded in yarn format to provide safe, self-regulating heat delivery at approximately 46 degrees Celsius (115 degrees Fahrenheit). Silver yarns are knitted into the layer as busbars which then carry current efficiently to the FabRoc® heating yarns, which extend the full length of fingers and thumbs. This combination of elements provides for heat to be delivered across the tops of the fingers to dilate blood vessels and encourage warmed bloodflow between the fingertips and the back of the hand. By integrating FabRoc® yarn into the knitted layer we provide a very soft, flexible and comfortable 'feel' inside the glove. The tiny and lightweight tubular battery packs are housed in a robust leather pouch for protection and to keep the battery away from the user's hand whilst not interfering with activities such as ski-ing, angling, hunting, cycling etc. They deliver heat for 3 hours in constant use and take 6 hours to charge fully.
Approaching 90% of heat emissions from FabRoc® fall within the FIR (Far Infrared) 'Healthy Heat' zone, offering a wide range of health benefits including accelerated removal of toxins from the body, pain relief, decrease in joint stiffness, reduction in muscle spasms, accelerated healing in soft tissue injury, reduction in inflammation and oedema along with enhancement of white blood cell function. You can read the 2009 Wellness and Health Innovation Project FIR White Paper here.
There are a large number of potential applications for ThermoKnit™ technology, including clothing, seating, hosiery, blankets, mattresses and cushions ; anything in fact which could benefit from heat delivery within a comfortable and flexible knitted structure.
At last we can tackle the elusive issues which earlier materials have failed to properly address :
Raynaud's Syndrome & Whitefinger: soothing and relaxing of tight muscles, survival warmth on tap, low cost alternatives to gas and electrical home heaters, enjoying the lack of fumes or staining resulting from the heat fusion of polymers.
Thermoknit™ - A conductive polymeric yarn allowing our heat technology to be "knitted-in" during glove, sock or mitt manufacture as an all-in-one process. Patent no. GB2417660.