Amphico mimics the waterproofing strategy of springtails and the coloring of butterflies to produce easy-to-recycle performance clothing.


  • No toxic chemicals
  • Easier-to-recycle garments
  • Reduced use of water


  • Clothing
  • Upholstery

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 6: Clean Water & Sanitation

  • Goal 12: Responsible Production & Consumption

The Challenge

Much of the colorful, breathable, waterproof gear that people wear when they’re out loving nature is terrible for the environment. That’s because each of these functions is usually achieved by combining different types of materials, and coating them in harmful, non-degradable chemicals. Toxic particles are then shed from the garment during use and washing, and the combination of materials makes the garment difficult to recycle at the end of its useful life.

Innovation Details

Amphico has created easier-to-recycle textiles—building up complex performance through the structure of simple substances.

To make its textiles, Amphico starts with a single, non-polar substance which is drawn out into nano-textured filaments. The filaments are bundled and twisted to form yarn with two levels of nano-micro structures, and then woven together to create a non-polar fabric with texturing at the nano, micro, and macro scales.

To impart a variety of colors, Amphico uses only four different-colored yarns, twisting them in different combinations, and weaving them in different patterns. This creates a multitude of colors, reducing the number of dyes needed and decreasing the amount of freshwater consumed during the coloring process by over 80 percent.

The colored woven fabric is then combined with the waterproof, breathable membrane, and since the textile and membrane are made out of the same material, the final product is much easier to recycle.


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Biological Model

Many living organisms manage to achieve multiple functions using a small toolbox of materials and adding function through texture, not chemicals.

Springtails are microscopic arthropods that often dwell in mucky habitats. To protect themselves from drowning or being infected by harmful bacteria, their bodies are covered with tiny, pillar-shaped protrusions covered with a waxy, non-polar substance. Both of those features lead water to roll right off the springtail’s back.

Tiger beetles and butterflies produce color on their bodies and wings through similar nanoscale structures. Their multi-textured surfaces manipulate different wavelengths of light to produce micro-scale dots of a few set colors, which blend—like pixels on a TV screen or dots in a pointillist painting—to produce the illusion of countless other colors.




Ray of Hope Prize®

The Ray of Hope Prize celebrates nature-inspired solutions addressing the world’s biggest environmental and sustainability challenges. Created in honor of Ray C. Anderson, founder of Interface, Inc. and a business and sustainability leader, the $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize helps startups cross a critical threshold in becoming viable businesses by amplifying their stories and providing them with equity-free funding. The prize shines a light on the innovative, nature-inspired solutions that we need to build a sustainable and resilient world. Amphico was selected as a finalist for the 2022 Ray of Hope Prize.