>“Clothes that Clean Themselves” and Enterprise Architecture


Enterprise architecture develops current and target architecture and transition plans and provides for governance. With the supersonic speed of change in the information technology industry, it is easy to see the necessity for constantly evolving target architectures for IT and associated business processes. However, how does target architecture apply to run of the mill items, like clothing—isn’t clothes, aside from changing fashions and styles, and occasionally a new material or two, pretty much the same old thing?

MIT Technology Review, 20 February 2008, reports on something truly novel with clothing, namely “Clothes That Clean Themselves.”

We’re all familiar with stain-repellent materials (where spills roll off instead of getting absorbed into the fabric), and that’s sort of cool. But relatively speaking that’s nothing compared with self-cleaning clothing—yes, that is for real (and boy, won’t it be nice to save even more on dry cleaning?)

“Researchers…in Victoria, Australia have found a way to coat fibers with titanium dioxide nanocrystals, which break down food and dirt in sunlight…natural fibers, such as wool, silk, and hemp that will automatically remove food, grime, and even red-wine stains when exposed to sunlight.”

Burning out stains and pathogens, but safe to fabric and the skin:

What’s great is that the nanoparticles “oxidize or decompose organic matter,” but “are harmless to skin. Moreover, the coating does not change the look and feel of the fabric. This titanium oxide coating is just burning organic matter at room temperature in the presence of light.

“Titanium oxide can also destroy pathogens such as bacteria in the presence of sunlight by breaking down the cell walls of the microorganisms. This should make self-cleaning fabrics especially useful in hospitals and other medical settings.”

What is the future for these self-cleaning clothes?

Researcher Walid Daoud says that “Self-cleaning property will become a standard feature of future textiles and other commonly used materials to maintain hygiene and prevent the spreading of pathogenic infection, particularly since pathogenic microorganisms can survive on textiles surfaces for up to three months.

From a User-centric EA perspective, it is amazing how every area of our life, even simple clothing, can be transformed to next level of target architecture through invention, innovation, process reengineering and technological advances–such as information technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology.

What next with clothing—maybe they can self-fit in the future, so one size truly can fit all?