The newyorker designer Nikolas Bentel has developed a range of patterned shirts that change colour in response to air pollution or radioactivity.
Personally interested in pollution and global warming, his work is some form of social design.
The Carbon Monoxide shirt functions in a similar way to a carbon monoxide spot detector, which features a patch that turns black when carbon monoxide is present and clear when the air around it is stabilised.
As carbon monoxide comes into contact with the shirt, the gas is oxidised by chemical salts in the dye, a process that changes the dye's colour to white as it loses oxygen atoms.
Once the carbon monoxide's removed from the air, different chemical salts made from metals absorb oxygen from the air. This changes the dye back to its original chemical form, and the colour to black again.
The dye on the Radioactivity shirt changes from black to white depending upon gamma rays or electron beam radiation. As exposure increases, the pattern becomes darker and darker, and once you have been exposed to too much radiation, the shirt will not change back to black.