Killer clothes may soon be available, with tiny molecular daggers that latch onto fibers and stab and destroy microbes. Image socks that cure athlete’s foot, underwear that cures jock itch, or suits that repel SARS. Military uniforms could even kill anthrax. And due to public protest, Benetton is backing out of installing microscopic tracking devices on all their clothing.
Scientist Robert Engel has designed molecular daggers that can coat fabrics. Each one is only a few atoms long and attracts bacteria and fungus. For these nasty germs, “It’s like resting on a bed of nails,” says co-inventor JaimeLee Iolani.