There's a major movement going on in the electronics and computer industries to develop wearable devices for what's being called the post-PC era. We are now at the dawn of that era, and some of these devices are already making their way to the consumer market. Despite the small size and portability of these devices, they are still noticeable and aren't always very aesthetically pleasing. The next phase of this post-PC era will be to integrate computers and other devices directly into our clothing, so that they are virtually invisible.
Photo courtesy MIT Media Lab researchers Josh Strickon, Rehmi Post, Josh Smith, Emily Cooper and Maggie Orth
Using conductive fibers, MIT Media Lab created the Musical Jacket, which is being marketed by Levi in Europe.
In the next few years, we might be filling our closets with smart shirts that can read our heart rate and breathing, and musical jackets with built in all-fabric keypads. Thin light-emitting diode (LED) monitors could even be integrated into this apparel to display text and images. Computerized clothes will be the next step in making computers and devices portable without having to strap electronics to our bodies or fill our pockets with a plethora of gadgets. These new digital clothes aren't necessarily designed to replace your PC, but they will be able to perform some of the same functions.
Computerized clothes are the ultimate in portable high-tech gadgetry. In this edition of How Stuff WILL Work, you will learn just what these clothes are made of, who is making them and what kind of products we might be wearing in the coming decade.