Latest news from Loughborough University
21 Jan 2015
Serial sports tech innovator launches FLUX – the running glove that puts climate control in the palm of your hand
Loughborough graduate Ross Weir is close to launching an innovative running glove with built-in climate control. His patented invention is unique mesh that enables instant temperature regulation and moisture wicking. The gloves are also touch screen compatible and pack down as small as a tangerine, weighing less than 6 grams each.
“When it’s cold, every runner faces the same dilemma – how much gear to wear?” said Ross, a serial innovator who has licensed a number products to major sports brands whilst studying at Loughborough. He continued: “Wear too much and you end up overheating, peeling off and carrying your discarded kit. It breaks your rhythm. Wear too little, and the chill soon sets in.”
Getting the balance right with our hands is particularly difficult for runners and many other outdoor sport enthusiasts. Cold exposure rapidly shuts down warm blood flow to the extremities, resulting in painful or numb fingers. Too much insulation, however, and hands will quickly overheat and get sweaty.
A sports technologist, product designer and keen runner, Ross experimented with several glove prototypes, including electrically heated gloves, before establishing his simple yet innovative solution.
The insulation and exposure of the hand can be easily controlled by placing an air permeable mesh on the palm and opening and closing the fist. When held in a fist, the mesh is unexposed and the hand is well insulated. When the hand is open the mesh becomes fully exposed, releasing heat and moisture away from the palm. Before becoming too chilled, the hand can be closed again, maintaining thermal comfort and continuing to act as an efficient radiator of body heat throughout the run.
A 5k run in identical kit and breezy conditions (7°C / 44°F) followed by lab tests have demonstrated that a standard winter running glove pushed palm temperature up to a muggy 29°C (84°F), with a 10g increase in mass from absorption of sweat.
In contrast, Ross’ FLUX glove allowed the wearer to control the climate, resulting in a warm and comfortable finishing temperature of 24°C (75°F). Furthermore, it took on so little sweat the scales couldn’t measure any increase. The measured evaporation of the sweat from the FLUX glove increases the cooling effect.
In order to create the large open mesh structures to unlock the climate control, Ross has sourced robotically controlled seamless warp knitting – a patented technique to match his patented invention.
Ross, who graduated with a degree in Sports Technology from Loughborough in 2003, has launched a Kickstarter campaign and is reaching out to runners and outdoor sports enthusiasts everywhere to help make FLUX fly. With 50% of the funds already secured, Ross is hopeful that he can launch the FLUX glove as early as March this year. If the cold snap continues, he’s onto a winner.
Notes for editors
Article reference number: PR 15/06
Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.
It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, putting it among the best universities in the world, and was named Sports University of the Year 2013-14 by The Times and Sunday Times. Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and has been voted England's Best Student Experience for six years running in the Times Higher Education league. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.
In 2015 the University will open an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University in London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will offer postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.
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