Little robots in your pants
July 18, 2003 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Little robots in your pants -- Popular Science calls Dockers to investigate their claim that the stain-repellent "Go Khakis" use nanotechnology. Certainly my favorite headline of the day thus far.
posted by logovisual (16 comments total)
geez, don't you know anything? anacin has had nanotech in its aspirin for years. see, there's a little guy with a hammer in your head, causing your headache. when you take anacin, other little guys with hammers circulate via the bloodstream into the head and bludgeon him to death. headache gone.
posted by quonsar at 9:18 AM on July 18, 2003

Thanks, quonsar. People used to think I was nuts, but now I have proof there's little men in my head.

And maybe in my pants.
posted by tommasz at 9:23 AM on July 18, 2003

There's a monster in my pants and he does a little dance and he makes all ther girls go "wooo!"
posted by nyxxxx at 9:26 AM on July 18, 2003

Are those tiny robots in your pants, or are you just minisculely happy to see me?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:30 AM on July 18, 2003

The end of the conversation is just brilliant:

"D: ... I need to help other customers, ma'am. Can I ask how you got the number to call us today?

PS: 1-800-DOCKERS? Lucky guess."

posted by GhostintheMachine at 9:31 AM on July 18, 2003

Thank you nyxxxx - I haven't thought about B-52 offshoot bands for weeks now.
posted by phong3d at 9:39 AM on July 18, 2003

Well, if you want to pay to read about it, here's a link to an archived Business 2.0 article about the guys who developed the fabric (I blogged about it last September, when the link was free. You might be able to retrieve it some other way)

The customer service rep has got part of it right. They discovered that they could bathe fabrics in a solution that had tiny nanofibers in it, and the fibers would adhere to the fabric, but repel almost anything else. The people who developed this process spent a while looking for clothing makers who would give it a try, but industry analysts expect that fabric treated with this nanofiber solution will shortly dominate the clothing industry.

It's obvious the reporter was looking for a funny interaction with a less-than-informed phone rep than any real answer to his question. Lazy-ass journalism at its finest.
posted by briank at 9:40 AM on July 18, 2003

(and yes, I realize "tiny nanofibers" is a redundancy)
posted by briank at 9:41 AM on July 18, 2003

I'm full of tinier men!
posted by aramaic at 9:45 AM on July 18, 2003

Fire me boy! It's okay to play with dolls!
posted by emyd at 9:55 AM on July 18, 2003

... so, these little robots, do they like .... vibrate....?
posted by jkaczor at 10:27 AM on July 18, 2003

There's a monster in my pants and he does a little dance and he makes all ther girls go "wooo!"

Dear God, you put a whistle-tip on THAT?!?!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:01 AM on July 18, 2003

I, for one, welcome my new nanorobot overlords in my pants.
posted by reality at 11:43 AM on July 18, 2003

When popular and real science collide...

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the term "nanotechnology" refers to:
Any fabrication technology in which objects are designed and built by the specification and placement of individual atoms or molecules or where at least one dimension is on a scale of nanometers.

The issue I have with the Popular Science article is that the term "nanotechnology" has been more popularly associated with nanobots and other nanotech-level machinery than it has with its true definition. While electrostatic spinning (which can produce filaments down to 10 nanometers in thickness) does qualify as nanotechnology, most of the public aren't going to make the distinction, and Popular Science is playing on that lack of distinction at the expense of Levi.
posted by FormlessOne at 11:53 AM on July 18, 2003

Back when articles about this new fabric hit the press, I went to Macy's in search of nano-pants. The Dockers with Stain Defender did not use the new nano-fibre that everybody's talking about; they just used some kind of coating (presumably made by DuPont, since their logo was on the info tag). The pants were also listed as only have "stain defending" ability for up to 30 washes. I would assume that the true nano-fibre would have this ability forever.
posted by hammurderer at 3:05 PM on July 18, 2003

Thanks, briank and FormlessOne; I was kind of hoping someone would post something about the pants that would explain slightly more precisely what they do. I was a bit put off by the Jerky Boys nature of the article myself, but I couldn't resist posting it for that headline. I need more self control. ;-D
posted by logovisual at 10:09 PM on July 18, 2003

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