As a mid-winter beacon of hope for city commuters and outdoor enthusiasts, Ministry of Supply recently launched the Mercury Intelligent Heated Jacket. There are a few other battery-powered thermal jackets on the market, but Mercury’s machine learning capabilities make it kind of like wrapping yourself in a chic heated blanket that reads your mind. The jacket is able to analyze temperature, motion data and user preference to ultimately find your perfect heat settings, letting you live the ultimate cozy lifestyle.
Using the connected app, you can either set your jacket to begin heating before you leave your house or right when you step outside. Once outside, the jacket’s sensors gather both temperature data from the outdoors and your own internal temperature to keep its heat in sync with your body. Heart rate is also measured and accounted for, which means as you pick up your pace, the jacket will begin lowering its temperature. Translated to New York commuter language: When you’re all layered up running to catch the train in the winter, you’ll be less of a sweaty mess. After three or four times using the app, Mercury is able to start learning your temperature preferences so you don’t need to pull out your phone all of the time.
Mercury is lined with S.Cafe lining, which incorporates coffee grinds to help control odor, keeping the jacket feeling fresh. And for when it’s not feeling fresh, Mercury is machine washable without needing to take the whole thing apart. While much of Mercury’s design success stems from its unassuming silhouette created by previous Theory design director Jarlath Mellet, this strong material foundation acts as the bow that ties the sensors and fashion together in a complete package.
The sensors inside the jacket are surprisingly subtle, with just two taking up minimal space inside the lining near the pockets and one larger one in the back. They glow a slight red when heated, but are mostly masked by a ventilated section of the lining. Other than what you can see from the two sensors, the rest of the internal tech is hidden. The only tech that makes its way past the lining is the cable for the battery, which pokes out through one of the pockets. We were also pleased to see that the required battery pack is slimmer than expected and can double as a phone charger.
Overall this jacket seems like a step in the right direction for smart clothing. I’m only nervous about two things: One is Mercury’s TSA approved status. Last time I flew, TSA was convinced I was wearing a money belt filled with cash because my sweatpants waistband was rolled twice over. Things would probably end up fine with Mercury, but I’m guessing there would be some explaining involved on the wearer’s end.
The second is that you can summon Alexa to turn your jacket on and off, but I don’t trust Alexa enough to relinquish outfit control to her—she might figure out how to tighten the wires around you or something…
Anyways, Ministry of Supply doubled Mercury’s funding goal in less than one day, proving that a minimal heated jacket might be what the world needs right now.