CNET First Look
Ministry of Supply's Alexa-powered smart heated jacket has its own thermostatWe wear the Mercury Intelligent Heated Jacket and talk with one of its creators to understand how it works.
It's cold out. I'm wearing a smart heated jacket. This is from the Ministry of Supply. It's a smart jacket that connects with Alexa and can heat up automatically and keep you warm in cold weather. I'm talking with Gihan, who's one of the founders of Ministry of Supply, and who's letting me wear the jacket before it's available. We built this jacket with the idea of But putting a smart thermostat in there. So it can detect basically your body temperature, the outside temperature, and even if you're walking, you're running, or just standing still at a bus stop, and from there we can change the power. So standing at a bus stop will give you full power. If you're walking briskly you don't want to over heat, so we'll turn the heat down. So how is this powered? Yeah, so it's just by a standard USB battery pack. So you just plug it in and it instantly turns on. So it's already looking for your motion, your body temperature. So basically you just walk outside the door it'll turn on. I have a phone in my pocket that contrls the jacket. And then I've got a battery here that's connected and this hooks in. << Yep. << You take the battery and you keep the plug in the jacket? << You keep it in the jacket, yeah. << You can wash it like that? << You can wash it, it's complete machine washable. << Okay. << And you just take the battery out. << And how does it heat up? What's inside this jacket? Because I feel something. << Yeah, yeah. [LAUGH] << I'm starting to feel a little warm. << Well, yeah, yeah. So basically we've got three carbon fiber heating elements One in the center back, and then two in the hand warmer pockets. So if it's cold out, you just put your hands in your pockets and you'll feel the warmth from those heating pads. And those are basically just turning the power from your battery pack into heat that you can feel. And it gets up to 135 degrees. But that's basically like when you're holding a nice warm cup of coffee. Our application, you just tell it, I want it warmer or cooler and that's all you have to tell it. And basically from there, it learns your preference. So if it's 55 degrees and you wanna be a little bit warmer, well, the next time that we see that temperature, give you a little bit more heat. There is powered button here. Yeah, yeah. Do I need to press in while somthing is critical? This is just a turn the jacke if you don't have the phone with on you or anything in use you wanna turn it off completely. Do you imagine other safety controls in the future with Alexa? Yeah. WHat's really cool is Yeah, the way we built this, we in the future have other developers build other skills for the jacket. Like what, what would you do? You could build into your morning routine, like Alexa, start my routine, turn on the espresso machine and preheat my jacket. [MUSIC] We ship with a 10,000 milliamp battery, so that'll give you actually about Four and a half hours at full heat, so if you were just running that heater on the full time, you'd get about four and a half hours, but because of machine learning, what we actually find is that you only need heat when you step out the door or you're waiting at the bus stop. And so through that intelligent control, we can actually get to about a week of usage on one battery charge. Exactly. It feels pretty comfy. This is a- Fleece? It's a completely water-proof, breathable shell, so it's gonna keep you dry in the snow. It's wind-proof and we've got a insulation in there as well. So even if the battery is off, you'll still stay quite warm. But it's got great four-way stretch as well. What is it made out of? Yeah, so it's really cool. It's made out of recycled polyester. That's been infused with coffee grounds for odor control. So the thing with jackets, most people don't wash their jacket all that often. So we wanted to make it so it can stay fresh even through that. [MUSIC]