Tag Archives: gloves

Nanotips *(the company)* makes your gloves touchscreen-sensitive

Nanotips is both the name of Tony Yu’s company and of the product. According to a Feb. 13, 2014 news item on Nanowerk, it’s a Kickstarter project, too (Note: Links have been removed),

A Kickstarter project to produce a nanoparticle liquid to transform all gloves into a touchscreen glove is already oversubscribed.

Nanotips is a conductive polyamide liquid solution that can transform your ordinary gloves into touchscreen ones. Formulated using nanotechnology, Nanotips mimics the touch of human skin. It was designed with functionality and durability in mind making it great for all lifestyles.

You can find out more on the Nanotips Kickstarter campaign page or on the Nanotips company website. From the Kickstarter campaign page (where I found more detail than I could on the company website),

NANOTIPS is for everyone. From the cold winter months to the hot summer days, Nanotips is functional in every season.  Military gloves, running gloves, biking gloves, construction gloves, golfing gloves and even the thickest snowboarding and skiing gloves can now all be made touchscreen compatible.

With simplicity and functionality in mind, we set out to create the quickest and most effective universal touchscreen upgrade ever. This formula has been created to last in any condition and takes less than 2 minutes to apply.

Nanotips BlueFor use on fabrics ONLY. Nanotips Blue is designed specifically for fabrics.  This solution dries to a transparent blue which makes it practically invisible on colored fabrics. This formula soaks into the fabric creating a conductive bridge between your finger and the touchscreen device. Treats up to 15 fingers per bottle depending on material.

Nanotips Black

Nanotips Black is specifically tailored for leathers, rubbers, and other thicker materials. This formula works for all materials, however it may alter the texture of your fabric gloves. This formula can work in two ways. A) It creates a conductive layer on the surface of your glove B) It soaks into the fabric and creates a conductive bridge between the finger and the touchscreen device. Treats up to 30 fingers per bottle depending on material.

There is some technical information on the Kickstarter campaign page but it is very general,

Nanotips Black. Quite a bit of work has been done in the development of this product. Comprised of evenly dispersed ultra-fine conductive nanoparticles, each particle is carefully prepped and made to interlink with one another; this helps to form a conductive grid-like film on the surface of the material. Because your glove undergoes constant flex, abrasion, creasing, and natural elements, our formula allows the materials to remain in grid formation even under extreme conditions. This helps to create an evenly distributed conductive channel on the surface of your glove.

Nanotips Blue. Comprised of evenly dispersed ultra-fine conductive nanoparticles, each particle is carefully prepped and made to interlink with one another.  These particles are suspended in a solution which allows the nanoparticles to remain chained to one another even under extreme physical stressors. When applied to fabrics, Nanotips Blue soaks into the material and effectively creates a conductive chain, bridging the gap between your finger and the touchscreen device. The sacrifice for transparency over conductivity was made for Nanotips Blue which is the reason why this solution only functions for fabrics.

Bottles. Our bottles are made from glass. We chose glass over other materials because it allows the liquid to achieve a longer shelf life as it remains sealed in the bottle. The brush is a Dupont nylon brush. Using the brush method of application means that each individual would be able to precisely apply the solution to the targeted area.

I think the future goal on the campaign page is quite intriguing,

PROSTHETIC HANDS.  During the creation of Nanotips, we had discovered that many prosthetic limbs are unable to interact with capacitive touchscreen devices. Because touchscreen technology is such an integral part of our society, daily interactions for anyone with prosthetic hands becomes a challenge. We would like to expand in this field by testing Nanotips on a variety of prosthetics; our goal is to give them the ability to easily interact with touchscreen devices.

Here’s the company’s Kickstarter video pitch,

Nanotips is an active Kickstarter campaign with 11 days to go (as of Feb. 13, 2014) and it has surpassed its initial campaign goal of $10,500 with supporters having pledged $55,776 CAD to date. It seems redundant to wish the company good luck but I will anyway as they deal with a project of a different scale than they’d originally planned.

Two final notes:  (1) the company is located in Richmond, BC, Canada or, as I’ve taken to saying, it’s a Vancouver area company and (2) there is no mention of any environmental testing.

* Added (the company) to head for grammatical purposes on Feb. 14, 2014 .

Gloves, Québec’s (Canada) Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail, and a workplace nanotoxicity methodology report

A new report on a workplace health and safety issue in regard to nanoparticles (Development of a Method of Measuring Nanoparticle Penetration through Protective Glove Materials under Conditions Simulating Workplace Use)  was released in June 2013 by Québec’s Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST). Little research has been done on exposure through skin (cutaneous exposure), most research has focused on exposure by inhalation according to the report (en français version here),

In the workplace, the main pathway to NP exposure is inhalation (Ostiguy et al., 2008a). Exposure by the cutaneous route has not been studied much, partly because of the widely held belief that skin offers an impermeable barrier to NPs (Truchon et al., 2008). Yet a growing number of studies have pointed to the possible percutaneous absorption of NPs, such as in the case of skin damaged by abrasion (Zhang et al., 2008), repeated flexion (Rouse et al., 2007) or even through intact skin (Ryman-Rasmussen et al., 2006). Pores, hair follicles and sweat glands may also play a role in facilitating absorption of NPs through the skin (Hervé-Bazin, 2007). The nanoparticles are then carried throughout the body by the lymphatic circulatory system (Papp et al., 2008). Induced direct toxic effects have also been reported for epidermal keratinocyte cells exposed to carbon nanotubes and other types of NPs (Shvedova, 2003). [p. 17 PDF version; p. 1 print version; Note: See report bibliography for citations]

The researchers examined gloves made of four different types of material: nitrile, latex, neoprene, and butyl rubber under a number of different conditions. One type of nanoparticle was used for the study, titanium dioxide in powder and liquid forms. The report summary provides a bit more detail about the decision to develop a methodology and the testing methods,

With the exponential growth in industrial applications of nanotechnologies and the increased risk of occupational exposure to nanomaterials, the precautionary principle has been recommended. To apply this principle, and even though personal protective equipment against nanoparticles must be considered only as a last resort in the risk control strategy, this equipment must be available. To respond to the current lack of tools and knowledge in this area, a method was developed for measuring the penetration of nanoparticles through protective glove materials under conditions simulating workplace use.

This method consists of an experimental device for exposing glove samples to nanoparticles in powder form or in colloidal solution, while at the same time subjecting them to static or dynamic mechanical stresses and conditions simulating the microclimate in the gloves. This device is connected to a data control and acquisition system. To complete the method, a sampling protocol was developed and a series of nanoparticle detection techniques was selected.

Preliminary tests were performed using this method to measure the resistance of four models of protective gloves of different thicknesses made of nitrile, latex, neoprene and butyl to the passage of commercial TiO2 nanoparticles in powder form or colloidal solution. The results seem to indicate possible penetration of the nanoparticles in some types of gloves, particularly when subjected to repeated mechanical deformation and when the nanoparticles are in the form of colloidal solutions. Additional work is necessary to confirm these results, and consideration should be given to the selection of the configurations and values of the parameters that best simulate the different possible workplace situations. Nevertheless, a recommendation can already be issued regarding the need for regular replacement of gloves that have been worn, particularly with the thinnest gloves and when there has been exposure to nanoparticles in colloidal solution.

For interested parties, here’s a citation for and a link to the report (PDF),

Development of a Method of Measuring Nanoparticle Penetration through Protective Glove Materials under Conditions Simulating Workplace Use by Dolez, Patricia; Vinches, Ludwig; Perron, Gérald; Vu-Khanh, Toan; Plamondon, Philippe; L’Espérance, Gilles; Wilkinson, Kevin; Cloutier, Yves; Dion, Chantal; Truchon, Ginette
Studies and Research Projects / Report  R-785, Montréal, IRSST, 2013, 124 pages.

I last wrote about gloves and toxicity in a June 11, 2013 posting about gloves with sensors (they turned blue when exposed to toxic levels of chemicals). It would be interesting if they could find a way to create gloves with sensors that warn you when you are reaching dangerous levels of exposure through your gloves. Of course, first they’d have to determine what constitute a dangerous level of exposure. The US National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) recently released its recommendations for exposure to carbon nanofibers and carbon nanotubes (my April 26, 2013 posting). In layperson’s terms, the recommended exposure is close to zero exposure. Presumably, the decision was based on the principle of being ‘safe rather than sorry’.

One final comment about exposure to engineered nanoparticles through skin, to date there has been no proof that there has been any significant exposure via skin. In fact, the first significant breach of the skin barrier was achieved for medical research, Chad Mirkin and his team at Northwestern University trumpeted their research breakthrough (pun intended) last year, from my July 4, 2012 posting,

Researchers at Northwestern University (Illinois, US) have found a way to deliver gene regulation technology using skin moisturizers. From the July 3, 2012 news item on Science Blog,

A team led by a physician-scientist and a chemist — from the fields of dermatology and nanotechnology — is the first to demonstrate the use of commercial moisturizers to deliver gene regulation technology that has great potential for life-saving therapies for skin cancers.

The topical delivery of gene regulation technology to cells deep in the skin is extremely difficult because of the formidable defenses skin provides for the body. The Northwestern approach takes advantage of drugs consisting of novel spherical arrangements of nucleic acids. These structures, each about 1,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair, have the unique ability to recruit and bind to natural proteins that allow them to traverse the skin and enter cells.

This goes a long way to explaining why primary occupational health and safety research has focused on exposure via inhalation rather than skin.  That said, I think ensuring safety means minimizing exposure by all routes until more is known about the hazards.

Change your gloves frequently if you’re handling nanoparticles

Québec’s IRSST (Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail) has issued a May 16, 2012 news release about the results of a study on gloves and nanoparticles,

After developing a sampling protocol and selecting the best analysis and measurement techniques, the research team carried out preliminary tests using four models of nitrile, latex, neoprene and butyl rubber protective gloves and commercial titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles in powder and colloidal solution form. “The results appear to indicate that powder nanoparticles penetrated the disposable nitrile gloves after seven hours of repeated deformation, while the butyl gloves appeared to be impermeable,” explained investigator Patricia Dolez, the main author of the report. “As for nanoparticles in colloidal solutions, we measured a possibility of penetration through the gloves, in particular when the gloves were subjected to repeated deformation. These preliminary data, which need to be validated by additional studies, show that it is important to continue work in this field.”

Based on the results, the research team recommends that care be taken when choosing and using this type of personal protective equipment. “We recommend replacing, at regular intervals, protective gloves that are worn, especially thinner gloves, and gloves that have been exposed to nanoparticles in colloidal solutions,” Dr. Dolez concluded.

H/T to the June 14, 2012 news item on Nanowerk for alerting me to this work.

You can get a copy of the study, Développement d’une méthode de mesure de la pénétration des nanoparticules à travers les matériaux de gants de protection dans des conditions simulant l’utilisation en milieu de travail , but it is in French only, as of today June 14, 2012. The abstract has been translated into English. I last mentioned one of the investigators, Patricia Dolez, in passing in my Oct. 14, 2009 posting.

ETA June 14, 2012: I should also have mentioned that this was joint project with researchers from the École de technologie supérieure, École Polytechnique, and Université de Montréal were working on this project with the team from IRSST.