Tech Togs: Nine Geek Chic Outfits

via PCWorld

Depend on your gadgets? Designers are making technology crucial to another area of our lives: our closets. From the practical to attention-getters, wearable technology offers new alternatives to standard geekware.

iPod Holder Meets Swanky Suit

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The Celio Club Suit—an iPod holder disguised as a tailored suit—lets you hear your favorite music and look hot. The jacket has specially designed pockets to hold an iPod flatly in place. It also has a special fabric touchpad that runs vertically along the breast label inside, which allows you to turn the iPod on, control the volume, skip forward or back, and auto-lock the device. Friends won’t guess that your newfound je ne sais quoi is stylishly hidden access to your own personal soundtrack. Image credit: QIO Systems, Inc.

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If your typical uniform is jeans and your favorite Star Trek, Digg or Twitter T-shirt, the Philips Lumalive shirts may pique your interest. By uniting LED tech with simple tees, the Philips Lumalive shirts can emit vibrantly colored messages, images and animations. And if you spill something on your shirt, the batteries and electronics are easily removable and re-attachable so you can clean up your act. You’ll need to contain your excitement for a while though—these tees aren’t being sold in department stores quite yet.Image credit: Philips

Clothes With Something Extra

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Ever feel like your clothes just aren’t doing enough for you? With the LilyPad Starter Kit, you can put ’em to work. The kit consists of a microcontroller board (the “brain” of the project) that you sew into your clothing and other essentials like a power supply and light sensor. With these you’ve got the basic tech to make your clothes do cool electronic things, like sing when you’re squeezed, or light up when you go into a dark room.Image credit: SparkFun Electronics

Let Your Jacket Speak for You

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From the tech-meets-fashion mind of Leah Buechley, cyclists can now wear their intentions to turn right or left via the aptly named “turn signal jacket.” The basis of this do-it-yourself project is the LilyPad Starter Kit (from the previous slide) sewn into your favorite hoodie or jacket. Once completed, you will press a button on your right or left wrist to activate that side’s arrow. The turn signal jacket adds new meaning to the term body language. Image credit: Leah Buechley

Tech Help for Slouchers

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We may love our computers, but there’s no doubt they can have ill effects on our health—including on our posture. Researcher Lucy Dunne came up with a way to give techies (and other office workers) the posture of a supermodel. Wearers simply don this (decidedly unhip but practical) posture monitoring shirt. The embedded fiber-optic sensor will note when you’ve hit your maximum allowable slouching time. Via Bluetooth, your computer will get the message, and call you out on it: “Warning…poor posture…Sit up!” Just think, it will be like having your mother around 24/7.Image credit: Lucy Dunne

Washable, Stretchable Tech

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Researcher Jan Vanfleteren and team are working on SWEET—stretchable and washable electronics for embedding textiles. Stretchable interconnections are achieved by embedding meander shaped metal wires in an elastic base material. The technology can then be embedded in a layer of stretchable polymers to make the circuits watertight. The project has tackled such fashion statements as a wearable watch and a lighted bracelet. But the researchers are also looking at SWEET’s applicability to health care, such as stretchable electronic circuits for medical implantable applications or even this stretchable thermometer.Image credit: Jan Vanfleteren

Exercise Heat as Body Art

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This “motion response sportswear” uses thermochromic printing techniques to enable the fabric to change color in response to heart rate and body temperature. How? As you heat up, the Thermochromic ink disappears, and the Thermochromic Liquid Crystal ink becomes colorful. The combination reveals a color spectrum—ranging from clear to turquoise to black—based on your body heat and heart rate that lets others know just how taxing your workout is. Image credit: Kerri Wallace

Interactive Clothes

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The two dresses—which designer Di Mainstone has named ShareWear—are made of heavy fabrics and assembled from multiple pieces that hide tech like Reed switches and LEDs. The dresses join together at various sections to activate LED-based light. For example, the hip “handles” of each dress slot together to activate a light that rises from one shoulder of each dress. Like much that is shown during fashion shows, these dresses are for the catwalk only. That’s too bad though, they’d come in handy while walking in the dark.Image credit: Di Mainstone

High-Tech Brilliance

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High-fashion met high-tech in British designer Hussein Chalayan’s fashion show “Readings.” The show featured pieces that radiated beams of light. To create the effect, strategically placed Swarovski crystals and hundreds of lasers were integrated into the pieces. Forget being “in the spotlight.” With these clothes, you are the spotlight. Image credit:

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