Wearable Phones

The news has been saturated this morning with a story about a “little black dress” with a mobile phone built in to it. The media have been gushing about wearable technology, as they do every couple of years, and telling us that we’ll all be wearing phones built in to our underwear in the next few weeks.

Cue speculation about  “iPants”, Tomorrow’s World-esque mock ups and visions of a future utopia like something out of the Jetsons. I wonder which “news” outlet will be the first to wheel out Kevin Warwick to tell us about how he’s a cyborg. Again.

On closer inspection it appears that what Cute Circuit – the firm behind the LBD – have done is stitch a sim card in to the dress and very little else. There’s no information on where the battery goes  or whether or not it’s washable, apparently you just have to bend your arm to answer calls. Oh, and it will be on sale next year.

Wearable technology has been in and out of the news for years, it’s possible, but does anyone want it?  You see the thing is, the problem wearable technology aims to solve (if there is one) was solved thousands of years ago by an innovation in the textiles industry – pockets.

My phone is currently in my pocket. If I need to use it, I can remove it in a matter of seconds, I can wash my jeans and simply move my phone to the pocket of another pair.

If my phone was an integral part of my jeans it would actually make my life harder. Assuming the jeansphone was washable, I still couldn’t use it while it was in the washing machine.  If I got mugged I would be walking home in my boxers. I pay precious little attention to fashion, but people that do would be saying things like “does this phone go with my shoes?” and “does my mobile make my bum look big?”

You could argue that having the microphone and speakers built in to your clothing would provide hands free functionality, true, but so do hands free kits that you can wear with any clothes you like. And, if your clothes mean you don’t have to wear a bluetooth headset while you walk around the supermarket you will have to find a new way of making sure everyone knows that you are an idiot.

Since mobile phones have become as much a status symbol as a communication device it’s hardly surprising that the fashion industry wants a slice of the pie, well I want a piece of the pie too and I have a plan to capitalize on people’s desire to show off their shiny new tech.

Behold the iHelmet – a revolutionary and magical helmet that holds your iPad on top of an eight foot pole sticking out of the top of your head, people will be able to see that you have more money than sense and are unusually susceptible to hype and marketing from hundreds of meters away. You won’t be able to do anything useful with your iPad while it’s attached to the iHelmet, oh, wait….

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