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Innovative Glove-Within-a-Mitten Developed by NUS Students Lets Users Stay ‘Touchscreen Friendly’ in Cold Winter

13 April 2012 National University of Singapore

It is snowing, it is cold and you are in full winter gear. How are you going to answer your phone or use a tablet outdoors with bulky gloves on? This was the question running through the mind of Charmain Tan, an undergraduate from the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Science, while on the NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC) Stockholm programme. With temperatures as cold as -20°C, she was not able to find gloves that would allow her use a touch screen phone, while keeping warm. So, she invented one – hybrid touch screen gloves that double up as mittens!

Charmain has since founded FiETT (Fun in Ecological Tech Textile), a Singapore company that develops and manufactures the patent-pending, eco-friendly ISGLOVESTM, which is essentially a touch screen glove-within-a-mitten. She set up the company together with Mr Fitzkhoon Liang, an alumnus from NUS NOC Stockholm programme; Mr Tan Yan Liang, an alumnus from NUS NOC Shanghai programme; and Ms Cia Zhi Yun, a student from the NUS School of Design and Environment. Both Fitzkhoon and Yan Liang are students with the NUS Faculty of Engineering.

The diversity in the expertise of the respective team members has been invaluable.  Fitzkhoon applied the skills in international sales that he had picked up during his internship to develop the sales and marketing strategy for ISGLOVESTM. Yan Liang, who interned with a startup which helps companies source for suppliers, leveraged on his contacts in China and negotiation skills to appoint a manufacturer to mass produce the gloves for sale. Zhi Yun, who is an industrial design student, came up with a unique design for the gloves. 

Hand-held touch screen devices such as smart phones and tablet computers rely on faint electrical signals from our fingers. Traditional winter gloves insulate our fingers and prevent the use of these devices.  ISGLOVESTM allow the wearer to operate touch screen devices, as they are made of special conductive materials. Their unique design encapsulates the heat between fingers within a mitten, allowing wearers to keep their fingers warm even in the harshest winters. They are the only double-layered touchscreen gloves-mittens in the market.

“Due to the relatively recent explosion of touch screen handheld devices, I believe there is a strong market demand for ISGLOVESTM in temperate regions. Although the idea of a team from the tropics developing a product for cold countries may seem strange, this is often a great ice-breaker, when we meet up with potential clients and channel partners. I also believe that we are able to bring new perspective to the market, and this has driven us to come up with a better product,” said Charmain.

A pair of ISGLOVESTM is currently retailing at US$39 (after 50% discount) for its end of winter sales via FiETT’s online store.

The Technology

ISGLOVESTM is essentially an application of nanotechnology. Special polyester yarns treated at dimensions between 1 to 100 nanometres, were interwoven with bamboo yarns to give ISGLOVESTM its unique conductive and touch sensitive functionalities. The cap of the outer mitten can be removed easily by flipping over either at the four fingers or at the thumb. Once the cap is open, the user will be able to operate a touchscreen device.

Accolades

FiETT was one of five companies that won a Demoguru Award for their innovative creation of ISGLOVESTM at the recent inaugural Demo Asia event held in March 2012.  In the same month, ISGLOVESTM also received an honourable mention in the prestigious ‘red dot award: product design 2012’. A total of 4,515 products competed in 19 categories.        

Funding & Support

FiETT received S$50,000 (US$40,000) in funding from SPRING Singapore in September 2011. The company launched the ISGLOVESTM in Sweden in December 2011, and has established sales representation in Sweden and works with a number of Swedish retailers. FIETT is being incubated by NUS Enterprise, and is able to leverage upon incubation assistance such as mentorship, networks, access to business clinics and infrastructure support.

More information on FiETT is available at:

http://fiett.com

Attached files

  • ISGLOVES


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