Viridian Note 00260: Viridian Couture Series

Bruce Sterling []

Key concepts: couture, Viridian clothing, military futurism, air-conditioned uniforms, selectively permeable membranes, camouflage, civilian applications, khaki green, biological and chemical warfare, U.S. Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command

Attention Conservation Notice: it's about clothes, and there's going to be a whole lot more about clothes in the Notes to come.


Viridian Easy Listening Summer Music Special!
The UK girl group 'Atomic Kitten' will plant a forest around Liverpool to counter the pollution released by their hit pop CD.

Climate symphony, derived from climate data collected from ice cores.

Solar dataset music from sunspot activity!

(((This Summer 02001 season, we have a surprising wealth of material on weird, cool stuff to wear and carry. This "couture series" will be the longest set of related notes we've ever run on Viridian List. With luck, the next couple of weeks will be almost entirely free of our usual horrific weather calamities.)))

Link new "digital camo" for Canadian forces and US Marines. This pattern is seriously hard to perceive. "Desert Disruptive" is a great name, but it may well be migraine-inducing.
National Defense magazine July 02001, Roxana Tiron

"Futuristic Soldier Suits to Be Chameleon-Like" by Roxana Tiron

    "One look at Sgt. Joe Patterson, and you could see what the U.S. Army envisions for the soldier of 2020. He is chameleon-like, wearing an all-purpose, single-layered uniform that not only changes colors to blend in with the natural environment, but also guards against chemical and biological agents. (((Civilian apps galore here. For civilians, the short list of Greenhouse "chemical and biological agents" includes traffic smog, Nile virus mosquitoes, natural gas leaks, dengue fever, refinery effluent, pseudo-estrogens, BSE prions, diesel particulates, and foot-and-mouth virus.)))

    "The cornerstone technology to turn this concept into reality is the selectively permeable membrane, which scientists are developing and testing at the U.S. Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command in Natick, Mass.

    "'We want integrated protection‹chem-bio, environmental and multi-functional," said John Munroe, of the warrior systems integration team. (((Now repeat that sentence three times.))) An issue that will have to be considered, he said, is how to bring the weight of the uniform down when adding new features. (...)

    "'The selectively permeable technology is very thin and light, it keeps the water and the chemical agents out,' he said.

    "Single-layer uniforms will perform functions such as cooling, conduction and will have embedded wires, according to Munroe. (((So it's an air-conditioned, fully- powered, hot-wired, light-weight, climate disaster uniform. And it's invisible. What's not to like?)))

    "Soldiers have to be able to go under water, walk in swamps and deal with rough terrain, he said. The current bulk of the uniforms == with their added features == impedes movement to a certain extent. Cables are a big hindrance. 'What do you think cables can do == they can snag, and they can break. All those pins and stuff break and it is really tough to keep our systems going if our cables don't work," Munroe said. (((Cry me a river, laptop boy.)))

    "The membrane technology being developed for the chemical and biological suits, he added, will be used in standard military uniforms. However, he noted, "that is not enough. We want to integrate the environmental protection, the stealth, the cables and the electronics. The chemical and biological suit is just a stepping stone for us." (((A stepping stone straight to the Patagonia atelier, presumably.)))

    "At a recent Army exhibition on Capitol Hill, Sgt. Patterson was wearing a suit that epitomized the type of garment that researchers at Natick hope for. On his uniform, just on a patch on the right arm, cable was replaced with a piece of webbing with conductive fibers. Another patch had cooling tubes that could circulate both cold and warm water.

    "'We would like to maintain a physiological level of high performance,' Munroe said. 'If you are working hard on a dog day afternoon in your yard, eventually, you get beat, and your mind goes and your body goes. That is a problem, and our soldiers are getting into that situation. The enemy is hot and beat and we are fresh and ready. That would be a big advantage.' (((You bet it would: because it's fresh-as-a-daisy NATO warriors versus pitiful, heat- prostrated Third Worlders, in tomorrow's post-disaster Greenhouse battlespace.)))

    "Natick also is looking at physiological sensors to monitor soldiers remotely. (((How handy!))) Other capabilities based on active electronics will allow the suit to change colors and blend with the background. 'That is why he is wearing black,' Munroe said, pointing at Sgt. Patterson. 'He can change to any color he'd want.' (((And just imagine the fun in the streets of Genoa, when the Black Bloc wears that 'chameleon' stuff to a meeting of the G-8.)))

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