Hi Tech Vests, Smart Clothing that Plays Music, Recharges Batteries
Clothes are being used for all sorts if things - they can just do stuff. Your clothes can now - play the drums - collect solar energy - store all your fishing gear - and even clean themselves without washing.
Other wacky examples include a shirt with a built-in electronic music synthesiser shirt, and an electronic rock guitar shirt.
There is even also a Wi-Fi detector style baseball cap that has bars on it that glow when there is good signal for a Wi-Fi connection nearby.
An Australian company has developed solar cells based on dyes that are flexible and can be incorporated into material for tents and clothes.
The army is very interested in these devices for powering up the modern computer savvy soldier. How else are they going to recharge their batteries?
A new generation of flexible solar-powered bags and flexible "skin - jackets" are also being developed.
A new form of compact emergency power is also being developed from flexible solar panels that can be folded and stored away until they are required.
Music Machine T-Shirts
The real drum machine T-shirt is the latest in a series of interactive apparel from Think Geek. The design is not an image but a real battery powered drum kit built into the material.
It is not heavy to wear, but it does require 4 x AA size batteries. You can wash the shirt but the electronics have to be removed first. This is easy to do.
Also on offer are an Electronic Rock Guitar Shirt, Electronic Music Synthesizer Shirt, The Personal Soundtrack Shirt that has a built-in sound effects player that you can personalise with your own music and sounds.
Clothes that Wash Themselves
A team of Chinese researchers have developed an additive that allows clothes to clean themselves without water or detergents.
Normal cotton can be treated to clean itself when its exposed to the sun. A mixture of nitrogen and titanium dioxide is used to coat the fabric.
Titanium dioxide is a very common the white chemical that is used in everything from sunscreen to white paint.
The Titanium dioxide acts to break down the dirt that collects of the clothes and kills microbes when exposed to sunlight.
The same chemical is already widely used in many self-cleaning kitchen and bathroom tiles, windows, odor-free socks and many other products.
The chemical coating is quite complicated with a mixture of titanium dioxide, and small amounts of iodine,silver and nitrogen nanoparticles.
The coatings remains intact even when the clothes are washed in the conventional way washing and drying.
This new fabric does not require special UV light exposure, but works simply on sunlight.
Ever time you step into the sunshine in your new clothes you get a spring clean.
There are many other types of special purpose clothes such as Fishing Jackets and Ice Vests.
Apple and Google have been working on a number of projects for wearable computers that communicate with Android or iPhone smartphones.
Apple is already promoting Nanos with watch faces.
A more powerful wrist based computer would appear to be a logical development of the smartphone which would be even closer to the famous Dick Tracy watch.
Hands-free operation is the objective for wearable computers and smartphones.
The smartphone has already replaced the alarm clock and digital radio and the wrist watch is next.
Many watches expanded computer like capabilities and the new devices would marry the two.
Glasses are another accessory destined for a make-over with tiny computers.
By the way, the smallest fully functional computer has been squeezed into a memory stick.
Another idea is for an iPod (perhaps with a curved glass screen) that would wrap around or over the wrist. You would be able to interface with the device using voice commands using Siri.
All sorts of keyboard devices are also being trialled to get around the cumbersome 'two thumbs dance'.
Over the next 10 years or so people will be wearing glasses as wearable computers with built-in screens and will be using tracked eye movements for entering commands.
Glasses also offer many options for sensing your environment, using the lenses as tiny screens.
Heads-up displays projected onto clothing is another application for computers in T-shirts.
Contact lenses may be employed as screens for heads up type displays.
Do you have any ideas?
© 2011 Dr. John Anderson