Clothes Circuit

Digital clothingCan you imagine pants designed by Apple? Good-bye iPod, hello iPants. No buttons, no zippers, and just one perfect pocket that carries everything you need. You could find your keys in seconds while listening to a killer track.

Digital clothing - at this point, more likely to be found at Burning Man than Barney's - is steadily creeping toward practicality. The first harbinger might have been Burton's 2003 line of snowboarding jackets, which integrated with your iPod or cell phone, but those are technological dinosaurs in light of some of the wearable circuitry now coming out of university and corporate R&D labs.

At the 2nd Skin exhibit at San Francisco's Exploratorium, showing through Sept. 7, wearable technology takes center stage. Though your iPod may be portable, it's also possible to make your pants sing. Using conductive threads, zippers as circuits, and sensors that are embedded in the clothing itself, it's possible to create clothes that talk to each other, express the wearer's state of mind or broadcast the wearer's message. Jay Finch and Jodi Silver, from MIT's Media Lab, created clothes that make music through touch. Challenging the social strictures that usually define touching, their ok2touch clothing uses metallic, conductive thread to make music whenever anyone comes in contact with the wearer - or touches someone the wearer is touching. It's sort of like making a remix with a handshake. Or a group hug.
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